Shahana Butt, Press TV, Indian-controlled Kashmir
Indian forces have gone though difficult times in the Indian-controlled Kashmir over the past two weeks as they had to repel attacks by independence-seeking fighters in different parts of the region. The clashes have already claimed the lives of nine fighters and inflicted considerable damage to property.
Five of the slain fighters were indentified as local Kashmiris and the rest were foreign militants. The fact on the ground has taken aback n analysts.
Since the peace process between India and Pakistan began in 2004, normalcy has returned to the valley region. And this has raised the expectations of local Kashmiris– demanding the two neighboring countries to make greater step toward settling their rifts over the disputed region. Despite years of negotiations, New Delhi and Islamabad are still refusing to budge from their stances on Kashmir. And the continued insistence by the long-time rivals has resulted in peaceful protests over past three years. Two years ago, India installed interlocutors to address the problem but they have not bee able to bring about any noticeable changes on the ground.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the top pro-independence leader says Indians’ approach toward the issue of Kashmir has been stiff as they have never accepted any pre-conditions that could pave the way for talks among all players involved.
He’s also on the belief that Kashmir cannot be viewed in isolation– especially after 2014 when a new dimension– namely the probable withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan will be added to the issue.
On the one hand, New Delhi shows willingness to resolve the issue, and on the other hand, it has always maintained that Kashmir is an inseparable part of its territory– an assertion that has posed a big challenge to the peace process.
Analysts warn if India and Pakistan do not take a positive and problem-solving approach to the issue of Kashmir, the deadlock will further frustrate locals and may push them to employ every possible means to once again draw global attention to the decades-long dispute.