Kashmiris join insurgency against India at highest rate in two decades

Published: February 24, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

SRINAGAR: An insurgency in the Indian-held region of Kashmir is increasingly dependent on homegrown, educated fighters with the highest number of local youth joining in two decades, according to Indian army data seen on Tuesday.

The trend represents a new threat in the region where Muslim separatists have been fighting Indian forces since 1989. At least 70 young Kashmiris joined the insurgency in the last year, army records showed, with most joining the banned group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was accused of carrying out attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008.

At least 14 of them have been killed, the army said. “Youth joining the militancy is disturbing,” Subrata Saha, the head of Indian army in Kashmir, said recently.  “If educated youth are joining, it is more disturbing. It is certainly is a cause of concern for us.”

Two of the new recruits have doctorates and eight were post graduates, the army data showed. Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since a war after independence from Britain in 1947. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the territory.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming the rebels in the portion of Kashmir it controls and sending them to the Indian side. Pakistan denies that. For years militant groups had struggled to recruit fighters from Indian Kashmir, forcing them to rely on Pakistan-based fighters, the officer said.

To maintain control, the Indian army has a massive military presence in its northernmost and only Muslim-majority state famed for its snow-capped mountains and fertile valleys.

The trend of homegrown fighters joining the militancy started in 2010 after a summer of unrest when 112 people were killed in clashes between police and protesters, according to a senior army officer. The decade before that had seen a lull in militancy, and numbers are still low compared with the 1990s.

With the Indian army stepping up patrols on the border fewer Pakistani fighters have been able to cross in, forcing militant groups to recruit local youth, the officer said.

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Reader Comments (33)

  • Kumar
    Feb 24, 2015 - 6:39PM

    They came as invaders and they will leave one way or another.Recommend

  • kamal
    Feb 24, 2015 - 6:52PM

    R u kidding me ! Only 70….if it true then well done IndiaRecommend

  • Kashmiri Libre
    Feb 24, 2015 - 8:10PM

    This is a separatist movement, this is a movement for our freedom, we like any nation in this world have the right to determine our future and have the right to govern ourselves and preserve our culture, language, heritage and genes like any proud nation.

    If you can support Kurdish freedom, if you can support Tibetan and Bengali freedom then there’s no reason for humanists to not support Kashmiri freedom and nationhood, we are a distinct stateless nation who has the right to carve out our own state, we have been occupied since 1586 till now, we are patient and remain committed to our resolve for azaadi.Recommend

  • Feroz Butt
    Feb 24, 2015 - 8:17PM

    @Kumar:
    If you’ve read any history books apart from Indian school textbooks, you would know that we are mostly descended from the natives of the valley with a little foreign admixture, genetic studies validate that, the real outsiders are the half a million occupation troops and the rulers of the Delhi establishment.Recommend

  • nrmr44
    Feb 24, 2015 - 8:56PM

    How can you believe the Indian Army? They are just out to malign the innocent youth of Kashmir. Not one joined any insurgency group. Recommend

  • Burki
    Feb 24, 2015 - 9:20PM

    Tribune: It’s not Indian-held region of Kashmir, it is Indian Occupied Kashmir. Call it the way it is.Recommend

  • Agrippa - The Skeptic
    Feb 24, 2015 - 10:14PM

    Burki, it is an indication that you have been following Indian media for so long that you are now brainwashed.
    Indians call Azad Kashmir Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Pakistanis always called the Indian Kashmir IHK – Indian held Kashmir.Recommend

  • Asok
    Feb 24, 2015 - 10:40PM

    @Kashmiri Libre, please explain how Indian rule is threatening your “culture, language, heritage and genes”.

    As far as I can see, Article 370 already preserves all of the above. India does not send in non-Kashmiris to settle in Kashmir and thus alter the demographic makeup or culture of the state. This is in sharp contrast to what the PRC does in Tibet and Xinjiang, for example.Recommend

  • Burki
    Feb 24, 2015 - 10:57PM

    @Agrippa: Your post is an indication of your ignorance to history and facts. It helps to educate yourself before commenting on a topic. Part of Kashmir under Indian occupation has always been referred to as Indian Occupied Kashmir, in Urdu it is always referred as “Maqbooza Kashmir”.Recommend

  • Agrippa - The Skeptic
    Feb 24, 2015 - 11:25PM

    Burki,
    What it is called Urdu is of no consequence as it is only for those who understand Urdu. It could be translated in any one way.

    I stand 1/2 corrected. It is not only called IHK.
    Ignorance, educate yourself is heavy artillery in a discussion, or do you think this is war with letters?

    Google:
    A part of the erstwhile Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu, the region is the subject of a territorial conflict among China, India and Pakistan. Pakistan, which claims the territory as disputed,[3] refers to it alternatively as “Indian-occupied Kashmir” or “Indian-held Kashmir,” whereas some international agencies such as the United Nations call it “Indian-administered Kashmir.”[4] The regions under the control of Pakistan are referred to as “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir” (PoK) within India, as “Azad (Free) Jammu and Kashmir” in Pakistan, and as “Pakistan-administered Kashmir” or “Pakistan-controlled Kashmir” generally.[5][6][Recommend

  • Burki
    Feb 24, 2015 - 11:52PM

    @Agrippa: and you think “ignorance” or “educate yourself” are heavy stuff but have no qualms at labeling others as “brainwashed” right off the bat …some double standards. Don’t dish out what you can’t take yourselfRecommend

  • Agrippa - The Skeptic
    Feb 25, 2015 - 12:01AM

    Sorry to have hurt your feelings mate.
    Didn’t know you were so touchy.

    Will you now call your big brother to beat me up?Recommend

  • Burki
    Feb 25, 2015 - 12:07AM

    @Agrippa: In international politics and diplomacy, words carry lot of weight and symbolic meanings. Pakistan’s official position has always been “Indian Occupied Kashmir” because it not only signifies illegal occupation but also brings to fore the plight of Kashmiris under Indian occupation. It was only during that coward dictator Musharraf under US pressure, that government, media and political analysts started to shy away from using this term to appease India.Recommend

  • observer
    Feb 25, 2015 - 12:31AM

    Ya right, there is a huge rise in youth joining insurgency! I guess, here the word “huge” means 70 stupid idiots working for the Pakistani agencies to stir up trouble.Recommend

  • ModiFied
    Feb 25, 2015 - 2:04AM

    @Kashmiri Libre : How many people should it requires to ask for a separate nation ? In world there are city nations also. By that logic every city or even a village should have the right of becoming a nation. Anyone of us can ask for moon. Real issue is, can we get it ? UN does not have the mandate to create nations. In every part of world there are people who will like to carve out a separate nation. Problem is that there are equally or rather more number of people who will not like that to happen. In case of Kashmir, let us say about five million people want free Kashmir. However, 1.20 billion Indians oppose that. Think, who will prevail….Bring 1.20 billon people from anywhere on you side and you will get free Kashmir. Recommend

  • ModiFied
    Feb 25, 2015 - 2:05AM

    @Kashmiri Libre : How many people should it requires to ask for a separate nation ? In world there are city nations also. By that logic every city or even a village should have the right of becoming a nation. Anyone of us can ask for moon. Real issue is, can we get it ? UN does not have the mandate to create nations. In every part of world there are people who will like to carve out a separate nation. Problem is that there are equally or rather more number of people who will not like that to happen. In case of Kashmir, let us say about five million people want free Kashmir. However, 1.20 billion Indians oppose that. Think, who will prevail….Bring 1.20 billon people from anywhere on you side and you will get free Kashmir. Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 25, 2015 - 2:25AM

    Want to ask my Pakistani friends – is the so called “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” a truly independent country or is it a part of Pakistan ?Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 25, 2015 - 2:28AM

    @Feroz Butt: What does your surname name tell you ?Recommend

  • AKA
    Feb 25, 2015 - 3:14AM

    INDIAN GO BACK TO YOUR INDIA,Recommend

  • Masood Raja
    Feb 25, 2015 - 5:57AM

    There is no moral equivalence between occupied Kashmiris and occupier India. Captive Kashmiris never voted to join India. They have no choice but to manifest their deep down hatred for India’s illegal occupation of their state. The heroic freedom struggle of Kashmiri people must be accepted as their legitimate right of self determination. Today Kashmir has become a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia as pointed out by former U.S President Bill Clinton while addressing the UN General assembly. It is civilized world’s moral obligation to support the just cause of Kashmiri people. India claims itself as the largest democracy but its ethnic cleansing and genocide of Kashmiri people speaks otherwise. Kashmiri youth are brave enough to give India the bitter taste of its own medicine Recommend

  • Anish
    Feb 25, 2015 - 6:26AM

    Pakistanis and Kashmiris
    No matter how much you guys will jump up and down…throw as many stones you want..send as many jihadists you want..there is no freedom to kashmir..not an inch of loc will be moved..it does not matter whether Kashmiris want to stay with India or not..but kashmir will be inseparable part of India….no nation on this platet can dictate kashmir on India… Recommend

  • Indian Muslim
    Feb 25, 2015 - 6:29AM

    I suppose this news item of a massive “70” new terrorists has nothing to do with BJP forming a coalition government in Kashmir?
    Next stop: Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.Recommend

  • CalamityJohn
    Feb 25, 2015 - 6:35AM

    These young men throw stones for a living. They get paid a monthly salary to do it. So 70 more Kashmiri youth have found jobs. Big deal.Recommend

  • zara
    Feb 25, 2015 - 8:20AM

    @Anish: there is no freedom to kashmir..
    So you accept your criminal occupation of kashmir.

    ut kashmir will be inseparable part of India….no nation on this platet can dictate kashmir on India…

    Dont worry no nation will free kashmir,infact Allah will. ameen.
    Now carry on ur jumping up n down. Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Feb 25, 2015 - 8:45AM

    @Kashmiri Libre:
    When the guests stay too long, they think they own the place. Kashmir is the land of Rishi Kashyap. Now just leave and go to where you belong – to Iran. Just leave this place with your culture, your genes and your physical being. Period.Recommend

  • Patriot
    Feb 25, 2015 - 9:33AM

    When was Kashmir an independent nation or country? Back in the 15th century? For how long? Kashmir has not been an independent country for 600 years and will not be for another 600. And the residents of 5 districts out of 23 cannot get independence for the whole state. Hard facts! Man up and move on. Recommend

  • Rakesh
    Feb 25, 2015 - 9:45AM

    Apropos the call for a ‘Free Kashmir’. I would like to know from the enlightened audience on this forum. What precisely does freedom mean for the Kashmiris? What would they do differently from what they can do while remaining with India. This is the key question. I would like a really honest answer. I am NOT trolling. I genuinely want to know what is it that Kashmiri’s would do with their freedom that they cannot achieve while in the current state.

    I think an honest answer will help me understand this motivation.
    Thanks
    RakeshRecommend

  • zara
    Feb 25, 2015 - 10:18AM

    @Rakesh:
    I occupy a part of your house and i dont let it go, why dont you let it stay with me. And also in that part are staying some ppl of your family. Why bother? Its just a piece of land ?Recommend

  • Zubair
    Feb 25, 2015 - 10:22AM

    @Arijit Sharma:
    Without falling into all the neety greeties, The Kashmiris on Pakistan side are more comfortable with Pakistan than the Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir….One of the example is :
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/10678163/Indian-Kashmiri-cricket-fans-to-be-charged-for-cheering-Pakistan.html Recommend

  • Milind
    Feb 25, 2015 - 1:17PM

    @zara – “I occupy a part of your house and i dont let it go, why dont you let it stay with me. And also in that part are staying some ppl of your family. Why bother? Its just a piece of land ?”

    You’ve already occupied a piece of our house which is called Pakistan. However we’re not complaining & have accepted it. By the same token your & Kashmiris should accept that Kashmir is now part of India.Recommend

  • dada
    Feb 25, 2015 - 8:41PM

    Kashmir, the name came because of Rishi called Kashyap. In recent past it has become more of CashMere. Angloes are making lot of cash by having Hindu-Muslim clash. Anglo created Poonjabi Pakistani Army gets to suck up all the funds meant for education and health of common Pakistani, some of which are used to buy arms from Angloes and also common Pakistani Abdul is made to fight Anglo’s imperialist geo-strategic wars.

    There has been migration and intermingling of Kashmir and rest of India. Today’s Saraswat Bramhins, who are spread all across India, originally came from Kashmir and for long time they lived on the banks of Saraswati river which is now dried out.Recommend

  • Jag Nathan
    Feb 26, 2015 - 3:02AM

    It does not matter how many thousands more join. India has a 1.25 billion population. In that population the Kashmiri numbers are a drop in the bucket. India has seen much larger protests and lived to see the next day. We welcome all these idiots to waste their time protesting.Recommend

  • Jatin
    Feb 26, 2015 - 4:17PM

    @Rakesh:
    The problem with Kashmir is that all the parties have some sort of a bad intention. If you look at it from a larger perspective.
    Nobody is ready to see the elephant in the room. Kashmir is not merely a land or a political issue. It is a Religious issue.
    There are people in the valley who believe in Jinnah’s TNT. They believe that Muslims cannot stay with India (read Hindus) but at the same time they want 100% of the state land, that is the problem.
    Pakistani polity has only used Kashmir to gain emotional support of the normal people.
    Pak Army/Ind Army wants more arms contracts so they can eat more money out of it, so they keep the pot boiling.
    Indian politicians think that if they give even an inch of Kashmir, they will never come back to power.
    I don’t see any problem in dividing the state on the basis of religion. That was done in 1947 and thanks to Jinnah I feel we are far more safe and secure in both the countries or else mega scale riots must be happening across the sub continent at a much larger and deeper level.
    From India’s perspective if you listen to any of Hafeez saeed’s speeches they are not asking only Kashmir they want to convert India into a Muslim state so Kashmir acts as a barrier, It takes all the firing and saves the rest of India from the crusade.
    Secular India has to accept that Partition happened and our forefathers agreed for it and if you don’t want another partition, Please complete the partition and settle all Muslims in Pakistan and all Hindus in India with respect. Recommend

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