Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kashmir marks 20 years of conflict, peace still distant

Jan 25, 2010 : One of the world’s longest-running separatist insurgencies, one that has killed tens of thousands of people in Kashmir, completed two decades last month. The strife-torn region witnessed a period of relative calm, but a recent spate of rebel attacks is a grim reminder of the tensions in Kashmir at the heart of enmity between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan. A series of skirmishes across Kashmir’s border between the South Asian rivals, which claim the disputed region in full but rule in parts, also underline decades of mistrust between two countries which have fought two wars over the region.
With diplomatic limbo between India and Pakistan and stalled peace talks between New Delhi and region’s separatists, peace seems a distant dream. Yasin Malik, one of Kashmir’s most influential separatist leaders, recently told Reuters in an interview that the region risks a return to militancy and violent protests if India fails to push a stalled peace process After two decades of campaign, little headway is visible for resolution of Kashmir which New Delhi calls the crown of India, while for Islamabad it is Pakistan’s jugular vein. “For God’s sake, don’t give our next generation a sense of defeat. If you are giving them a sense of defeat, you are pushing them for another revolution,”It’s again an uneasy time in Kashmir, stunningly beautiful but one of the world’s most militarized regions.
Increase in rebel incursions into Kashmir from Pakistan, near daily gun battles, anti-India protests and rights violations allegedly by security forces: is this a re-run of 1989? Is Kashmir, a near-forgotten conflict, spinning off into another 20 years of violence?

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