News / Asia

Kashmir Separatists Active in Forgotten Conflict

For Kashmiri Separatists, A Forgotten Conflicti
X
September 27, 2013 3:56 PM
As violence erupts in Indian-controlled Kashmir, separatist leaders say calm will not return to the Himalayan region until Kashmiris are allowed to determine their own fate. VOA New Delhi correspondent Aru Pande talks to moderates and hardliners who say the international community, focused on places like Afghanistan and Syria, has forgotten the decades-long conflict that once dominated headlines.

For Kashmiri Separatists, A Forgotten Conflict

Aru Pande
Cross-border firings, militant attacks, deadly separatist protests - the people of Indian-controlled Kashmir have witnessed nearly every type of violence in recent years.
 
Through it all, hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani - who remains under house arrest - says his one goal for Kashmir has not changed.
 
“Forces should withdraw and the United Nations Security Council should take control of Jammu and Kashmir, which was existing before August 14, 1947.  And then, people should be given the right to self-determination,” he said.
 
Skirmishes have erupted along the Line of Control, the de facto border that divides Kashmir between nuclear-armed archrivals India and Pakistan. Geelani says calm will not return until the Himalayan region is demilitarized and Kashmiris determine their own fate through a plebiscite.
 
It’s a demand that many Kashmiris have fought for peacefully, taking to the streets in protest, and violently by taking up weapons as part of an armed insurgency that began in the late 1980’s.
 
Yasin Malik helped launch the militancy, crossing into Pakistan as a young man to receive training and then returning to India to fight the military.
 
Malik renounced violence in 1994 and now heads the pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, advocating for self-rule through peaceful means.  He says the movement shifted in 2008, with many Kashmiris realizing their goal cannot be achieved by picking up stones or weapons.
 
The former militant, who claims to have been arrested more than 200 times and tortured in detention, tells VOA he resorted to violence after finding no space for political activism in Kashmir. But Malik warns a new generation is increasingly feeling the same, citing protesters who have been detained by authorities without cause.
 
“They have been harassed to the extent that now we have heard some educated boys have joined the militants, but it is unfortunate today that the U.S. is silent, the British government is silent, the Indian civil society is silent,” he said.
 
Malik and other separatist leaders say Kashmir is a forgotten conflict in the eyes of the world, with the international community now focused on places like Afghanistan and Syria.
 
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the head of the separatist umbrella organization Hurriyat Conference, says if Kashmir does make headlines nowadays it’s only in relation to how India and Pakistan must resolve their territorial dispute in order to work together towards a more stable Afghanistan.
 
“The Kashmir issue is not to be resolved only because you have a problem in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a separate issue and it demands a solution, but Kashmir is a separate problem. It’s one of the oldest issues on the agenda of the United Nations,” said Farooq.
 
The moderate separatist leader adds that the international community must get involved to resolve the decades-long dispute that has seen little progress.
 
“If India and Pakistan were capable of addressing their problem bilaterally, then there would not have been three wars on Kashmir. We would not be seeing this amount of tension that is mounting day in and day out,” he said. “So, there has to be, whatever term you want to utilize, whether you say, assistance, mediation or  involvement. We believe the time has come where we need third party intervention.”
 
Separatist leaders say above all, the 15 million residents of Indian Kashmir must have a seat at the table and be directly involved in any resolution.
 
Whether they will ever get this wish remains to be seen. The Indian government maintains Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan also claims the region as its own.
 
As for the Kashmiri people, the uncertainty of their status still lingers, leading to the resignation that it will not be resolved anytime soon.

  • Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his home in Srinagar. (Aru Pande/VOA)
  • All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chair Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. (Aru Pande/VOA)
  • Streets of old Srinagar. (Aru Pande/VOA)
  • A Kashmiri woman looks out her doorstep in Srinagar. (Aru Pande/VOA)
  • Hazratbal Shrine in old Srinagar. (Aru Pande/VOA)
  • Women walk near Dal Lake. (Aru Pande/VOA)
  • Man herding sheep through Srinagar streets. (Aru Pande/VOA)

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid