Rising Instability in Kashmir
By: Sarah Pearce
Photo Credit: “Will Kashmir Conflict between India and Pakistan Ever Be Solved?” Business Today, 27 Aug. 2019.
Recently, the tension in the region of Kashmir and Jammu has reached a turning point. The citizens are protesting more than ever before, especially with the termination of article 370. With the frequent acts of terror by the terrorist group Jaish-E-Mohammed (JeM), political strife, and increased instability within the region, it is likely that the area could be bracing for significant impact of change.
Article 370 was revoked by the President of India August 5, 2019 (Sampathkumar). This ‘special status’ in Jammu and Kashmir granted the region to have autonomous control over laws having to do with property, citizenship and rights. There are disputes as to whether revoking article 370 was for the betterment of the region or if it was to take the democratic rights away from around 13 million citizens (Sampathkumar). This region is disputed because of the Muslim majority in Kashmir. Pakistan wants to claim this region, but India holds on to it firmly.
Another source of stress on the disputed area is the terrorist group called JeM. This group was founded by Masood Azhar in 1999 after India released him from custody in return for the crew and passengers of a hijacked flight (Masood Azhar). After being sent to Afghanistan, Azhar was influenced by Osama Bin Laden and later formed JeM. On October 14, 2019 it was reported that JeM is running terror training camps in Pakistan. According to India Today, “The new crop of terrorists is mainly suicide bombers being trained for carrying out attacks in Kashmir and Afghanistan” (Negi, M. S). JeM primarily attacks in the region of Jammu and Kashmir and is currently the premier, and most threatening terrorist group in the area. The main goal of the terrorist group is to drive out Hindus and non-Muslims from the region (Negi, M. S).
Another contributor to the political instability in Jammu and Kashmir is the pressure that China puts on the highly disputed region. In early October 2019, China’s foreign ministry website mentioned that China was “paying close attention to the current situation in J&K” (India tells China). In response to this, the Indian government said, “India’s position has been consistent and clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. China is well aware of our position. It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India” (India tells China). China is currently an ally of Pakistan and this places stress on the political relations near the area between India and Pakistan.
The tension that is building in this area is largely due to the terrorist group JeM, political disputes between India, Pakistan, and China, and the recently revoked article 370. For the past two months, mobile and internet services were banned in the region. In fact, in the year of 2019 alone there have been 51 internet shut-downs in Kashmir and Jammu. This has been declared a “basic human right” by the United Nations, and yet it is occurring still due to political upheaval (Bhattacharya, A.). Instability in Kashmir and Jammu will endure and increase into chaos if there are more frequent terrorist attacks in the region. The U.S. is keeping a close eye on the situation, but India has recently denied access to a U.S. Senator who wanted to see what was happening on the ground in Kashmir. India maintains that this is an internal issue that does not need outside assistance, but if these issues are not seriously addressed soon, the conditions of safety and quality of life in Jammu and Kashmir may worsen beyond repair.
Bhattacharya, A. (2019, August 5). This is the 51st internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://qz.com/india/1681333/jammu-and-kashmir-internet-mobile-services-have-been-shut-again/.
India tells China to stay off Kashmir. (2019, October 10). Retrieved October 14, 2019, from https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/india-tells-china-to-stay-off-kashmir/cid/1710488.
Masood Azhar: Jaish-e-Mohammed leader listed as terrorist by UN. (2019, May 1). Retrieved October 13, 2019, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48124693.
Negi, M. S. (2019, October 14). JeM training 50 suicide bombers for attack on Kashmir, Afghanistan: Top sources. Retrieved October 13, 2019, from https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/jaish-e-mohammed-balakot-terrorist-training-camp-1609241-2019-10-14.
Sampathkumar, M. (2019, August 12). What Is Article 370? The Kashmir Crisis Explained. Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://fortune.com/2019/08/08/what-is-article-370-kashmir-india/.
Will Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan ever be solved? (2019, August 27). Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/kashmir-conflict-between-india-and-pakistan-solution-article-370-revoked/story/375616.html.