Daniel Halliday
Feb 27 · Last update 23 days ago.
What are the underlying issues behind the conflict in Kashmir?
A suicide attack on the 14th Feb 2019 has prompted a further upsurge in violence and aggressive rhetoric between India and Pakistan. Tensions have grown as India’s openly plans to isolate Pakistan diplomatically, which quickly escalated to cross border fire, and then the disputed shooting down of two Indian Air Force jets, or possibly one Indian and one Pakistani Jet on 27th Feb 2019. What are the historical or underlying issues that cause continuing conflict over this region?
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Both sides’ violent crackdown on autonomy protests
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Death of Burhan Wani
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A long fight for independence
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Role of the media
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Historical authoritarian rule and failed colonial diplomacy
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Both sides’ violent crackdown on autonomy protests

India and Pakistan are both ignoring autonomy being the main issue here, both sides use it and talk of it less as a fight for independence but more of a 'tough man' rivalry between countries. Both sides often “crackdown” but neither side has made any steps towards a resolution to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. There’s a need for prolonged demilitarisation and multilateral talks, but both sides are locked into a battle of violent rhetoric while completely overlooking the very necessary issue of Kashmiri Independence.

aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/india-charges-kashmiri-pro-independence-leader-crackdown-190307164352108.html

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Death of Burhan Wani

Burhan Wani was a widely popular Kashmiri militant who’s use of social media normalised, revolutionised and modernised militancy in Kashmir, and his death at the hands of Indian security forces in 2016 led to a fierce resurgence of violence in Kashmir. Wani became a symbol of indigenous youth-led armed resistance as he went viral on social media, making the struggle in Kashmir relatable to young people in the region. However his death, and the massive violent reaction to it, is thought to have changed the very nature of insurgency in the country, taking it from an ailing analogue resistance movement to a state of a universal identity-forming popular struggle.

outlookindia.com/website/story/how-burhan-wani-changed-the-definition-of-militancy-in-kashmir/313209

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A long fight for independence

The very basis for the cause of the conflict in Kashmir is the struggle for independence of an Islamic region from an increasingly nationalistic, majority Hindu, state of India. Opinion polls have shown that “support for independence varies between 74% to 95% in its various districts” [1] of the Kashmir valley, according to Chatham House, an international affairs think tank. This is however being largely ignored by a Indian central government that is gearing up for re-election, preferring to utilise situations such as these to appear a strong to the rest of the country by pushing a Hindu nationalist agenda.

aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/india-pakistan-crisis-includes-war-facts-alternative-facts-190309060825203.html

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Role of the media

Many of vast number of multilingual news networks in India are reporting completely different news about the same events often prompting aggressive discourse before politicians even have the time to react. Meanwhile fake posts on social media are promoting violence against those in India that are not seen as patriotic enough to support the harsh nationalist rhetoric many media organisations engage in, some going as far as directly calling for war with Pakistan. The media in India are pushing an increasingly extreme narrative of hateful nationalism to vie for viewership in a booming media industry; however this is simply provoking people and creating a frenzied response around these issues. youtube.com/watch?v=1v_vWmDaUEU aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2016/10/india-pakistan-media-fire-161009071925158.html

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Historical authoritarian rule and failed colonial diplomacy

The history of the Kashmir region undeniably laid the foundation for the struggle in the region today. With a rich history of Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic control gave rise to a distinct culture in Kashmir, but many oppressive empires eventually took control of the region, with the Afghan empire, and then Sikh empirical rule eventually giving way to the British East India Company. The British sold Kashmir to Hindu leader Raja Gulab Singh in the late 19th century and a system of slave labour, heavy taxation and state violence was established. Although there are numerous factors affecting the situation in Jammu and Kashmir it is clear the struggle for freedom, the lack of self-determination and violence against the indigenous people is an issue with a very long history.

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