Kashmir: Valley of Tears
The fight over the valley of Kashmir is one of the longest unresolved conflicts in the history of the United Nations.
Kashmir is not a poor region. Unlike the rest of India, it has rich natural resources and most of it’s population lives in considerably good conditions. But the uprising of the military, which started in the early 90s, changed the fate of the valley and turned it into the so called “Valley of Tears” – the most militarised zone in the world.
Over 700,000 Indian soldiers and members of paramilitary forces are stationed in the region. Many of them have their bases in the cities that caused the uprising of the local population who felt opressed by the Indian state.
Back then, before the partition of British-India into the now enemies of India and Pakistan, Muslim Kashmir was an independent kingdom with it’s own culture and language. The people living in the region feel more Kashmiri than Indian – they don’t want to belong to India, which is geographically and ethnologically far removed from their own roots.
The conflict in Kashmir has seen the culmination of four wars – 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 – which have resulted into the death of over 60,000 people. More than 10,000 are still missing. Both nations are now in possesion of atomic weapons, which makes it one of the most dangerous regions in the world. Altough there have been decent improvements in the bilateral relation of both states in the past, the situation in Kashmir remains fragile and tense, especially after the recent bomb attacks in Bombay which were suspected to be planned by Kashmiri militants.