India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

CrisisWatch India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

Unchanged Situation

Harsh weather curtailed militant activity in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) as PM Modi visited for first time since 2019, praising region’s “progress” while local parties reiterated demands for long-overdue elections.

Militant attacks and security operations remained at low ebb. Due to inclement weather amid snowfall and avalanches in higher reaches of region, militant activity remained subdued during March but may step up once weather improves ahead of national elections (see India). Low-intensity blast 26 March occurred in Poonch town; police arrested two suspects. 

PM Modi addressed region in rare visit amid demands for overdue polls. Ahead of national elections in April-June, PM Narendra Modi 7 March visited Kashmir valley for first time since abrogation of Article 370 in 2019. During his address, Modi claimed “Kashmir is touching new heights of progress and prosperity after the abrogation of Article 370”, while Lieutenant Governor asserted that “the ecosystem of [militancy] has been dismantled”. Despite govt’s claim of new era of peace in J&K, delayed elections are contributing to local frustration and unrest. J&K’s regional parties, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, 12 March urged Chief Election Commissioner to hold regional and national elections simultaneously in union territory; Election Commission ruled it out on security grounds. Home Minister Amit Shah 20 March said elections would be held before 30 Sept deadline set by Supreme Court. 

Authorities permitted Chief Cleric to lead prayers for first time in months. J&K administration 6 March told High Court that Chief Cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was “a free man” and not under house arrest, permitting Farooq to lead prayers at Jama Masjid in Srinagar city on 8 March for first time since Oct when he was placed again in detention. At a sermon, Farooq 15 March requested authorities to “unconditionally release thousands of Kashmiri political prisoners”.

Protests in Ladakh continued. Protesters in Ladakh 6 March held rally calling for granting of statehood and its inclusion in Sixth Schedule of the Constitution for safeguards, after talks between Ladakh’s representatives and New Delhi 4 March failed to make any progress. 

Continue reading

Latest Updates

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.