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December 8, 2008
Q&A: Kashmiri people, history and human rights

Haley Duschinski, assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Ohio University, has researched issues of the Kashmiri people for the past 10 years.

Professor Haley Duschinski answers your questions about Kashmir. Listen to our  webcasted radio show with Prof. Duschinski, other experts and Kashmiri-Americans here.

Thank you for the dozens of insightful questions about the current situation in South Asia and your perspectives and concerns about the Kashmiri people. I have batched your questions into themes below.

By way of background, I’m a cultural anthropologist at Ohio University, and I’ve been conducting research on issues relating to the Kashmir conflict for the past 10 years through long-term field research in India and Kashmir Valley.

As an anthropologist, I use a bottom-up approach to understanding current politics and economics. This means that I approach the Kashmir situation by trying to understand Kashmiris’ everyday lives and local worlds –- by trying to see things from Kashmiri perspectives and Kashmiri points of view.


Q. How large is Kashmir? How many Kashmiris are there? What are the ethnic/religious breakdowns in Kashmir?

Haley Duschinski: Kashmir Valley is part of India’s northernmost state, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), which lies in the Himalayan Mountains on the borders with Pakistan, Tibet and China.

The state itself is made up of three distinctive regions with different religious and ethnic compositions:

Jammu — about 65 percent Hindu, mainly ethnic Dogras
Ladakh — about 50 percent Tibetan Buddhist with significant Muslim communities
Kashmir Valley — about 90 percent Kashmiri Muslim

Kashmir Valley is located past the Pir Panjal mountain range along the sensitive boundary line with Pakistan, Jammu is located beanth the mountains and closer to the plains, while Ladakh shares many topographical features with neighboring Tibet. The population of the entire state is about 10 million, with approximately 5.5 million people in Kashmir Valley.

Map of the Jammu and Kashmir region. Source: CIA

Kashmir Valley is also home to a minority community of Kashmiri Hindus, who largely migrated out of the region when the separatist movement escalated around 1990. About 7,000 Kashmiri Hindus remain in Kashmir Valley today.

This statewide religious, ethnic and regional variation makes the situation there very complicated.

It’s important to remember that when Kashmiris talk about their homeland, they’re referring to the original territory of Jammu and Kashmir that spans the heavily militarized ceasefire line between India and Pakistan known as the Line of Control.

This original territory has been carved up since independence in 1947 into several different portions. Pakistan controls about one-third of the original territory and China controls a smaller part.


Q. What is life like for Kashmiris?

Haley Duschinski: Since 1990, India has maintained more than 500,000 armed security forces in the region, making Kashmir Valley one of the most heavily militarized areas in the entire world.

The capital city of Srinagar is mapped with armed patrol units, sandbag posts, concrete and barbed wire bunkers and military checkpoints for pedestrians and automobiles. Outside of the capital city, the presence of armed security forces is pervasive, with army and paramilitary forces appropriating public schools, private hotels, cinema halls, government offices, orchard lands and abandoned houses.  Basharat Peer provides a stirring account of everyday life in Kashmir in his upcoming memoir entitled “Curfewed Night.”

Kashmiris are required to carry official identification cards with them when traveling in public, and they are subject to interrogation and search at any time. Many Kashmiris have told me that they feel like they are living in a prison –- that their homeland is under siege. Doctors Without Borders has published reports about the psycho-social and general health of the Kashmiri population.

Everyday life in Kashmir Valley today is largely determined by a special law called the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Some Kashmiris feel they are living in a prison.

As the Kashmiri independence movement escalated in the late 1980s, the Indian central government declared J&K a “disturbed area” and passed the AFSPA to grant extraordinary powers to security forces personnel, including authority to use lethal force against any individuals suspected of breaking the law and disturbing the peace.

The AFSPA has facilitated various human rights abuses including extrajudicial killing, disappearance, torture and rape. International human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as well as Kashmiri human rights organizations have strongly criticized the special act for violating international humanitarian law, particularly the right to life, and for granting state agents impunity for human rights violations.


Q. What is the state of human rights in the region?

Haley Duschinski: The official civilian death toll in the conflict is 20,000. Kashmiri human rights organizations claim that 70,000 people have died during the conflict and 8,000 have disappeared.

Just this summer, Indian armed forces opened fire on unarmed Kashmiri civilians protesting in the streets, killing nearly 40 and injuring 600.

Earlier this year, mass graves [PDF] of approximately 1,000 individuals were exhumed in Kashmir Valley. Due to the special acts, Kashmiris find it very difficult — if not impossible — to pursue justice for these types of human rights violations, and they feel that their suffering has been ignored by the international community.

Kashmiri human rights lawyers emphasize that any sustainable peace in the region must be founded on principles of truth, justice, and accountability.


Q. Who runs Kashmir? Are there local officials? How does the government work with the state?

Haley Duschinski: Like other Indian states, Jammu and Kashmir has a multiparty democratic system of governance, with elections to determine members the union parliament and the state assembly.  Elections were suspended during the peak years of the conflict from 1990 to 1996, but there have been several rounds of elections over the past decade.

The strongest political parties in Kashmir Valley are the National Conference, the Congress Party, and the People’s Democratic Party. In fact, elections are happening right now, and you can follow them on the website of the English-language news site Greater Kashmir.

As a result of the unusual circumstances surrounding its accession to India, Jammu and Kashmir is the only Indian state that has a special degree of autonomy under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Article 370 grants the state autonomy in determining its own affairs except in defense, foreign affairs, and communication. Since the 1950s, Article 370 has been substantially eroded through various measures of the Indian central government.

The Hajipir Pass, near the Line of Control.

Q. What is it that India and Pakistan covet in Kashmir? Are there natural resources or strategic advantages that pit the countries against one another?

Haley Duschinski: It is certainly true that Kashmir is located in a strategically advantageous position on the border between India and Pakistan, adjacent to China and Tibet.

But I feel that the contestation over Kashmir is less about the region’s strategic location or natural resources (although there are disputes over a critical water source there) and more about its symbolic and political significance to both neighboring countries.

When the British left the subcontinent in 1947, the colonial territory was partitioned into India, which espoused a principal of secular nationalism, and Pakistan, which espoused a principle of religious (Islamic) nationalism.

India has always claimed Kashmir Valley as proof of its commitment to secularism, while Pakistan claims Kashmir Valley on the basis of its Muslim majority population.  Of course, the situation is more complicated than this, because over the decades India and Pakistan have become locked into a sort of Cold War standoff over the region, with both sides refusing to back down in their territorial claims.

Political parties in each country have benefited from this situation by mobilizing popular support for their political positions and platforms through incendiary rhetoric involving Kashmir.

It often feels as though India and Pakistan are playing out their national security performances along the Line of Control in this border region, with quite devastating consequences for the Kashmiri people.

Q. What do the people of Kashmir want — independence? Will Kashmir ever receive independence from India or Pakistan? Can Kashmir be split up? Could the Kashmiris effectively govern the region?

Haley Duschinski: Kashmiris are vocal in their demand for independence, or azaadi.  The concept of azaadi is complicated, and it means different things to different people at different times.  Kashmiris’ desire for independence is a longstanding one that is shaped by peoples’ collective memories of occupation and exploitation by a series of outside rulers –- Mughuls, Afghans, Sikhs, Dogras and now Indians –- across history. This means that the Kashmiri demand for self-determination is not simply about seceding or breaking away from India; it’s also a way of demanding an opportunity to express their collective will in relation to their own political future.

To learn more about Kashmiri experiences and aspirations, I highly recommend a recent documentary film called Jashn-e-Azadi (“How We Celebrate Freedom”) by a Kashmiri filmmaker named Sanjay Kak.

Many Kashmiris feel dissatisfied with the way that their community has been treated by India since independence in 1947. Indian rule in the region since the 1940s has included repression, economic deprivation and indiscriminate violence, including, at various times, the denial of democratic processes, the manipulation of elections, and the jailing of political leaders.  These practices, and especially the widespread human rights violations since 1990, have made generations of Kashmiris feel very alienated from the Indian state. Kashmiris also remember that they were promised the opportunity to determine their own futures through a plebiscite at the time of accession to India, and that this promise has never been fulfilled.

India and Pakistan have been pursuing a peace process since 2004 that focuses in large part on finding a way to resolve their contested claims to Kashmir. The peace process has produced some tangible results, most notably a ceasefire across the Line of Control, as well as a series of confidence-building measures such as cross-border bus service and cross-border trade routes. Although Kashmiris have generally responded positively to these developments, the measures still remain largely symbolic gestures without tangible consequence for most people living in the valley.

A soldier by the Dal Lake in Srinagar.

Q. How can this situation be resolved?

Haley Duschinski: Many different plans have been proposed for resolving the Kashmir situation. Before he resigned as president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf proposed a four-point solution involving (1) porous borders in Kashmir with freedom of movement for Kashmiri people, (2) local self-governance within each region of Kashmir, (3) phased withdrawal of troops from all regions, and (4) a joint supervisory mechanism involving India and Pakistan.

Some political factions in Kashmir Valley support this plan, or variations of it, while others continue to push a separatist agenda.

U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama has indicated that he will prioritize a resolution to the Kashmir conflict as part of a more comprehensive and interlocking strategy in South Asia.

As an American academic, it’s certainly not my place to offer resolutions to the Kashmir situation.  I will, however, point out that it’s impossible to imagine any meaningful or productive political settlement that does not take seriously the longstanding grievances and democratic aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

– Haley Duschinski

Photos courtesy of Flickr users NotMicroButSoft and dave watts under a Creative Commons license.




As I Kahsmiri, i always feel my land been oppressed by foreigners. Our demands are simple ‘Give us our rights, We want to get freedom from Indian oppression, why are not we granted that. We surely international support……..Thank you for your work!!


kashmir will never be a part of india.they have right to enjoy there life as they matter which religon they have muslim hindu sikhor else.india have to call back army.


Ms. Duschinski, it won’t end with this Kashmir racket. Soon they’re gonna start raising issues about self-determination in Holland, etc. Study their attitudes right from the medieval times. When they’re a minority, they’re quite tolerant; as they grow bigger, they get more belligerent. Democracy isn’t an islamic invention (so an islamic nation doesn’t make sense to me). Neither is the percentage/arithmetic that you’ve presented in your article. My fellow muslims…grow up.


Hello everybody.
After reading the comments I feel that the truth is still being alienated and hidened.
I question about the mere presence of India,Pakistan and China in Jammu and Kashmir.
There was no paper ever signed by the Maharaja(The brute) in 1947(before and after) so that India could gain the right to access Kashmir.As the history proves when the Indian Army landed on the Srinagar airport at 9 am on 27th of October( we should remember that from 15th of August till 27th of October Kashmir was an Independant country)Kashmir was a sovereign country and till that time no Paper was ever signed,which could give India a right to enter the kashmir, between Maharaja and the then Indian government.
If the Instrument of Accession would have been signed by Maharaja why didn’t India present it in the UN in 1950’s, or why does not it present right now before the International community.
I as a Kashmirian , at the first hand, challenge India to present the aforesaid papers before International community.The question of Plebscite and self determination could then be discussed.

Therefore,India had attacked,has been oppressing,and is trampling the sovereign nation of Kashmir.


The element of fair, Kashmiry youth are facing, is unexplainable, Students studying in different Universities are going through different problems and. It can upto the cancilation of admission.
A common allegation is that “Kashmiry Students are Terrorists”


In the war of titans(hindu civilization vs islamic civilization)poor kashmiris Are suffering. A human tragedy which can’t be averted before Mehdi’s advent.


Remember India is a great and a powerful democracy of 1.2 billion. Kashmir is a tiny problem for the Indian giant she is using a democratic approach to bring total peace to Kashmir. A better idea would be that you foreigners work for the Liberation of Tibet from the Chinese brutes. The Muslims and Buddhists in totalitarian China have a miserable life.


kashmir is the land of kashmiris(Hindu, muslim, sikh, christian,buddhist,and atheist).It was and will never be a part of either india or pakistan.As bieng a kashmiri, some(1%) kashmiris have inclination towards pakistan, because they are our muslim brothers.No body likes india, i mean why would they?They are the opressors.They have brought nothing but destruction up to the limits of hell.There is no terrorism there, the people who r fighting against indians are freedom fighters.We are the land of intelluctuals, sufis, poets and warm hearted people.These people lust for a piece of paradise(kashmir) has made our life a living hell.I mean look at the place with no development. Just burnt homes,painfull bodies and destroyed souls.We have no hate even for our oppressors, we want to live in peace provided u give us peace.Give us indepence, and see what we have to offer the world intellectually, culturally and religiously.We want to set an example of a most peaceful land on earth(our kashmir), we want to make it paradise again!!!


I am a kashmiri pandit and was in 4th grade when we were forced to leave the valley.We were one of the few hindu families in a Muslim dominated area in Sopore.I still remember peeping out of our window and seeing hundreds of local muslims outside our house threatning to kill us and forcing us to leave, we left in middle of the night and never returned .Its has been 20 yrs since then.Our house was burnt within few months.
We hindus lost our culture, lost our roots and everyone was a mere spectator. Is this not a violation of Human Rights.


Haley your work is really appreciated. Indians do feel insecure whenever someone shows to them there black face in the mirror, but that doesn’t mean we stop calling crow a crow. There is some balaji, who boasts of his country protecting the minorties, i wonder with what face do they say this? Knowing what happened in Gujrat, what they did to babri Masjid and to the muslims of Mumbai, how on earth do they have a face to say, india protects its minorities, and Mr Balaji and his like minded people should know that its not India to think how Kashmir can survive without India, its rather India whose got to think for its survival once been bereft and made to pay for the loot of electricity from Kashmir. He wants to press his government to stop human rights violation like rape, i wonder if his sister was raped, what would be his reacton? will he still WISH to press the indian government?


If Indians are so sure that they are doing the best in Pakistan then why are they afraid of a allowing a plebiscite in Kashmir and let Kashmiris decide their future themselves. If you are the “Real Democracy” the let people decide about them. Its not always right to term every body who talks about the right of self determination as Terrorists and millitants and extint them from the face of earth. Stop Expansionism and start Pacificism.


I appreciate Professor Haley Duschinski efforts to do a Root cause analysis of Kashmir issue.

Its quite amazing to see the comments posted by people of different faith, but the most inclination of these comments to converging towards religous racism. But no sincere soul questions his inner self why there is Militancy is Kashmir, What gave rise to Militancy, If Kashmir region was ok since 1950 till 1980. Why Govt of India signed Article 370, Why Govt of Pakistan pushes insurgents into the valley especially non-kashmiris. Both India and pakistan want a bite of Kashmir.

Digging old graves wont help to resolve any conflict, same is the case with J&K. Question your inner self, you will have an answer…

If anyone of you want to dig the past? here is the key!

A Mission In Kashmir by Andrew Whitehead,

This book not only explains how the Kashmir conflict started but also why it has proved so difficult to solve.


Yes, I also would like to know if you can explain in detail what the whole dispute over Kashmir really is about? In the perspective of India and Pakistan and Kashmir, if you be so kind.


Can you explain in detail what the whole dispute over Kashmir really is about? In the perspective of India and Pakistan and Kashmir, if you be so kind.


Adding my perspective…

1) J&K is an integral part of India.
2) It is Pakistan which tried to invade Kashmir.
3) There is a lot analysis being done about life in J&K – I would like to know about life in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). I bet life is heaven out there ;-)
4) Someone should ask people from Jammu about the kind of facilities/benefits Kashmiris are being provided by Govt. of India.
5) The Maharaja of Kashmir decided to go with India, The people of Kashmir, as being mentioned, want “Aazaadi” – In all this, I do not understand what right Pakistan has got in this area?! – clearly, they are the miscreants/terrorists.
6) Pakistanis just cannot deal with the fact that India has got prosperous over the years and they themselves are left with a begging bowl.

Even if India were to give up Kashmir, The itch and jealousy that consumes Pakistan will not be over – next, they will aim for Punjab and other parts of India.

This is not about Kashmir – This is all about Pakistan’s unending itch to some how beat India, atleast once. India has defended its land and will do so eternally – Pakistan can try as hard as they can … and will fail as always.

If only Pakistan would spend so much effort in betterment of their economy, Life in the subcontinent will really be cool for all the involved parties.

Like many have commented, if Pakistan shuts up and minds it own business, Kashmir will be the “Firdaus” that it was, all over again.


Dear friends from India,

1.Going back to history,for 500 yrs,will only bring another 500yrs of suffering,hate and more terrorism.

2.Perspective of research or understanding the past will only accommodate dirty politicians to use this as tool for their success.

4.Be mindful both will loose if you don’t even know who is your enemy,just like the American lost the war in Vietnam


Its another “perspective” ..
The ground realitites are entirely different.

Most of the people in the region will surely disagree with this perspective.

I will suggest the author to keep working on the issue and try to learn more, and not be driven away by immediate past and just the current transiting situation in Kashmir.

I hope that after putting another 10 years on kashmir, the same author will rethink on what she has written today.

This is politics/sociology and not science where are definate and fixed answers, It takes just “a perspective” to make or erase what was true few generations back and what will be true in future.

One has to study atleast 500 years and special cases more than 1000 years of history in addition to political interests and ground realities of today and tomorrow to make a call ,,, not just transiting phase of what we see in a window of 10 to 25 years.

Best wishes.


along with the podcast this Q and A is a great resource – thank goodness the international discourse on Kashmir is changing with the realization that human rights have to be at the center of any peace-making agenda –


I note a fair amount of finger pointing in the comments. I doubt any of us want to minimize the suffering of anyone. No “side” is clean– no one should deny suffering just becuase it does not fit with our pride, our national and religious preconceptions or political narrative. SO step one is to acknowledge the violence and injustice and then listen to each other because freedom will not arise from struggle alone but also by understanding. Part of that is also not taking religious statements out of context. Let us ask religious parties to be responsible in their speeches and policies, but also let’s not misread them and take them literally when that is not appropriate. Here in eth “West” this is often done with Islam and the statements of Muslim leaders; but this can happen is misrading any faith based or political speech. More listening, less speech!



I have lived in Kashmir my entire life so who better to talk also not being a Muslim i don’t think think i am biased i think India Pakistan and China should back off and grant us Kashmiris the freedom we deserve.We were a free state before 1947 ad hopefully one day we will be free again. and just to add most religious killings in the area were not carried out by freedom fighters but the Indian intelligence an example would be the massacre at Chatisinghpora


Haley Duschinski only describes the Indian security “human right violations” but fails to even allude to the crimes committed by terrorists/”freedom fighters”- the very crimes which often lead to the excessive force used by Indian security. Does the author recall the brutal beheading of 26 Hindu villagers in Prankote in April 1998? The Wandhama Massacre of 24 Pandits in January 1998?
The situation in Kashmir is much deeper and much more complicated than the author seems to understand.


Thank You Professor Haley for raising Kashmir issue in right perspective. I am a Kashmiri Muslim living in USA. I truly believe that people should not be divided on the basis of religion. That people belonging to different faiths can and should live together.I believe dynamics of the issue resolution lies in understanding the two groups of people spanning on both sides of divide (India and Pakistan). One group believes in religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence while other believes in hatred, violence and religious extremism. Both groups exist on both sides. Various reasoning used by those belonging to the latter group are mere excuses to cover the devil in their core. Unfortunately, people of Kashmir including Gilgit, Baltistan, Ladakh and Jammu have faced atrocities in every dimension on daily basis over past 60 years. The only resolution to the problem is an independent secular Kashmir where Muslims,Pandits,Buddhists and all minorities live in peace and that Kashmir entity coexist with India and Pakistan. 60 years have shown us that Kashmir will not integrate with India nor will merge with Pakistan. Instead, if not resolved, will result in destruction of both nations. It is in the interest of both nations to facilitate creation of free Kashmir to reverse the impact of partition. Change is required in both India and Pakistan where new leadership would arise with the support of saner minds to make resolution of Kashmir issue the top priority in accordance to the wishes of people of Kashmir to bring peace to region and prosperity to 400+ million living below poverty line.


If it remains so, we may even have to accept such a losing fate in eventuality. Just for the simple reason that we have not yet been able to iron and straighten our internal differences which at the most are trivial and trite. We will never be able to see the light at the other end of the Jawahar tunnel.
Read more at:


This Mumbai Attacks have nothing to do with Kashmir. If it was, why would the attackers target citizens of US, UK and Israel and jews??


Since the Mumbai attacks, I had the privilege of various news sites all over the world and also happen to visit some Pakistan and ‘Kashmir’ news sites. I read a report about the current elections in Jammu & Kashmir. The article was of course about how poeple in Kashmir were protesting violently against the elections and how the Indian military was finding it difficult to contain the ‘kashmiri brothers’. But what causght my eye was that at the end of the article, the last few lines were as follows. “Also, in ***** in Kashmir, Indian security forces entered the house of Mir Abbas and killed his family adn raped his two daughters who were 13 and 15” And the article ended this way. It was almost funny. This is called soft brain washing. After a little research, I found out that news of Indain military rapes have been so commonly reported that in some cases it was logically impossible for the army to think about rape in the circumstances.


I am a hindu Kashmiri. This really isn’t about Kashmir — the conflict. This is more about the larger issue of partition between India and Pakistan. It is about the Hindu-Muslim division in South Asia.

One can infer this even from the comments above. Hindus, whether they be Kashmiri or not, defend India. Kashmiri Muslims, whether they be pro-pak or pro-independence, are offended by India. This is quite CLEAR.

I’ve been to Kashmir frequently as my mother’s side of the family resides in Srinagar. On average, Kashmiri muslims don’t feel Indian. (Privately, within Pandit households, the older generation concedes that even before the insurgent violence of the late 1980’s, the heart of the Kashmiri Muslim was with Pakistan).

There are complexities. You can find Muslims in Kashmir that are even Pro-India. But on the whole, kashur muslims are excessively alienated from India. Part of this alienation resulted directly in violence towards Pandits – who did not support the secessionist cause.

A lot has happened, and this conflict now has a thousand fathers. No side is really innocent.

The only practical way to solve this conflict is to erase the conflict between India and Pakistan. Most people mistake the causality. India and Pakistan are not belligerent towards each other because of Kashmir, rather they are belligerent towards each other because of Partition, and Kashmir is a side-effect.


In today’s blogtalk radio show I had posed a question for Mr. Moihsin what unfortunately was not taken. Mr. Mohsin talked about demonstartions in Srinagar in August 2008, in which he is puuting lot of his hopes.

According to Gaurdian (8/2208) there were massive demonstrations in kashmir valley which were led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani a leader of Pro-pakistan faction of Hurriyet. He began his address with a recitation of Quran and told the crowd that the only way for the struggle to succeed was to turn to Quran for guidance. In his speech he expounded on his plans for Kashmir. He said “I have a three point target, first to impose Islamic Nizam (jurispridence) in Kashmir. Islam should govern our political thought, socio-economic plans, culture and the ongoing movement. The creed of socialism and secularism should not touch our lives and we must totally be governed by Koran and Sunnat (precedents from Prophet Muhammed)”

As we you can see it is a plan to Talibanize Kashmir. What will happen to millions of Hindus, Buddhists and other minorities.

I wonder is this what is making Mr. Mohsin hopeful so that he and his friends can in the name of human rights for muslims kill non-muslims the infidels as dictated in Quran as follows:

Surah 47, Verse 4…..”Therefore when you meet unbelievers smite them at their necks and cause bloodbath among them
Surah 4, Verse 56….Those who disbelieved our signs we shall roast them in fire. Whenever their skins are cooled to a burn we shall substitute new skins for them so that they may feel punishment so that they believe Allah is sublime.

There are more surahs and verses such as
Surah 8 Verse 39 and 60
Surah 4, verse 89

We have seen these Surahs in action by Lashkar-i-Tayeba (a Kashmiri terrorist organization) when they massacred 171 people in Bombay in cold blood.

In 1991 they massacred thousands of Kashmiri Hindus and ordered the entire Hindu population to leave Kashmir in 48 hours.

Today 350,000 Kashmiri Hindus are living as refugees in various parts of the world.

Since 2002 Lashkar has killed more than 4000 Hindus in other parts of India through bombings of trains, temples and markets

Prof Haley Duschinski why are you silent when Hindus are murdeerd. Do human rights apply to muslims only.


I liked the comment of Professor Haley Duschinski about the present situation of Kashmir. I also noticed a myriad of opinions about Kashmir by many people, most of who are in complete denial. No matter what people have to about Kashmir and its history, you cannot deny the mass killings and genocide of our people in our own land. Asking pandits, who dont even live in Kashmir anymore to decide the future of kashmir is like asking the British to choose the President of US. As for the camps, the number of Kashmiri muslims that were killed by a predominantly Hindu army is far more than the number of people displaced in the turmoil. My heart goes out to the diaplaced people, but atleast they are alive, and don’t witness any ‘Custodial Disappearances’ and killings on a daily basis.
Clearly, Professor Haley Duschinski is judging the life and freedom in Kashmir in context of the life in west, which is clearly not possible considering the mass oppression and brutal killingswe face everyday.

Go ahead people, live your life in denial and blame Kashmiris for the 70,000 deaths.. if this helps you sleep at night.


Dear Kumar,

1.I have read some articles,does the Kasmiri given the fair budget,at that point of time to run the state?
2.Was the Kasmiri denied to proper Education,or any place given in the University,or was there any quota system for Muslim Kasmiri,for higher education?
3.Was there any rape or torture to civilians?which the goverment did not take any action,to any individuals?
4.What about the 1947 resolution?

Please answer me honestly.Thks


Brilliant work, Haley. The comments you’ve received are symptomatic of the misinformation of people who only seek to marginalize the grievances and wishes of the Kashmiri people, who are the very people living in conflict. The comments you have received from irritated nationalists irrationally ignore the findings in various State Dept. human rights reports, Human Rights Watch Reports, and Amnesty International Reports, UN OHCHR statements, E.U Parliament statements, and ICG reports. Your article speaks to the history and grievances of over 90% Kashmiris living in a valley where civilians endure atrocities by both militants and the over 500,000 Indian military and paramilitary soldiers stationed in the valley. I and the millions of grieving Kashmiris applaud World Focus for raising awareness on the plight of Kashmriis. Keep up the good work Haley. As long as you stick to the facts, the comments from people w/ biased agendas will not matter. One cannot hide truth. Well done.


To get the facts straight – it was India that approached the United Nations after Pakistani raiders (Kabalis) and Pakistani army regulars invaded the State of Jammu & Kashmir. And PLEASE Read the UN RESOLUTION 47 (1948) ADOPTED BY THE SECURITY COUNCIL AT ITS 286TH MEETING HELD ON 21 APRIL, 1948. (DOCUMENT NO. S/726, DATED THE 21ST APRIL, 1948).
According to this resolution, Pakistan had to remove its forces and citizens from the entire State of Jammu & Kashmir before India could reduce its forces in the State and a Plebicite can be held to decide if the citizens of the State of Jammu & Kashmir want to join India or Pakistan. Azaadi or Independence from India or Pakistan was not even an option under this UN resolution which many of Prof Haley’s friends are making her advocate.


Wow! Prof Haley – what a biased interpretation of the FACTS. Your views are jaundiced because you have NOT cared to visit the refugee camps in Jammu – may I ask why? Why is only Kashmir valley important for you? And where did you get the figures for the population mix in the State of Jammu & Kashmir?
As a Kashmiri, let me tell you that just by visiting Kashmir and fed lies along with Wazwan does not make you credible – period! As an academician do your research independently and find out who started the current round of violence in Kashmir in 1989? Who started selective killing of non-Molems and why? Where were the arms and ammunition coming from?
Last but not the least – go look at the current elections being held in Kashmir – voting has been more than 60% which is even higher than what was in New Delhi. And why are you recommending Greater Kashmir newspaper only – why not other Jammu & Kashmir Newspapers like the Daily Excelsior or Kashmir Times? To know some basic facts about Kashmir please visit or or
God Bless



Haley, i appreciate your commitment to get more knowledge on Kashmir. I am a Kashmiri infact belong to a generation who were aborgins of Kashmir. My anscentors belong to saint ‘Kashyap’ who discovered kashmir. i have spent my early days of my life in Kashmir. Kashmir problem has been made complex because of Religion mixing Politicas. I would really like to write you lot but got go…


Dear Haley,

1.Is is amazing,people like you,have dedicated your life,to tell the truth.

2.Your effort,to explain to people on the net,whom are non muslim.whom understand and feel,how the Kashmiris,been leaving under oppression, and it is sad to see,India with the largest democracy in the world is doing this to humans,from which i have seen their reply on your comments,reluctantly admit that,the treatments towards humanity is ignored.

3.To my opinion,this is self ignorance from the goverment,that are prejudice towards another race right.They are still going back to the caste practice.It is sad and shamed to see,this today world.
4,lastly i blamed leaders,who are corrupt and making use the live of others,for their personal gains.


What Haley Duschinski writes cannot be ignored. The Kashmir valley is certainly a highly militarized zone, and AFSPA is in power and Indian troops have committed human rights violations.

But this is only part of the story.

It is a pity that the Haley Duschinski academicians of the world – who have the power to form and shape public opinion – persist in presenting only one side of the story.

If one is to go by her version, the entire history of Kashmir valley begins only with the militarization of Kashmir by India. So why does the Indian army have to be stationed in Kashmir?

And that not a word is mentioned about human rights violation in Kashmir tells us how familiar and in touch with Kashmiris Duschinski really is.

Any one familiar with Kashmiri society and terrain, and who has friends in Kashmir know how frustrated Kashmiris are with the fact that while violations by the Indian state are regularly highlighted, those by non-state actors are not – which gives these non-state actors the license to commit these crimes with impunity.

But then, its clear that by quoting Kashmiri human rights lawyers (whose fraternity is rife with in-fighting) and ‘Jashne Azadi’ Duschinski clearly demonstrates which line she is towing.

Its also clear that Duschinski has never visited Purkhoo or Mutthi – I am sure these words must be like abracadabra to her.


No Kashmiri Hindu agrees to the fact that they migrated after the violence. They were forced to leave Kashmir after at gunpoint after hundreds of Hindus were killed in cold blood.


iwish the article was more balanced. no mention of hindus driven out by terrorist. no mention of situation on pakistan side of border( of course there are probably no hindus left.)not much about infiltration from across line of control.when did the really heavy military presence stated( only after infiltration across border.)if tomorrow there is understanding that there willbe zero violence iam sure there will be slow withrawal of indian forces depending on ground conditions.if one country agrees for plebicite TO STAY with india or pakistan or get independence there are many regions of world who will cede from country( eg southern part of Thailnd with muslim majority, one of the islands of indonesia with chritian majority, tamils in sri lanka,to name a few.


It is really amazing how none of the pro-Indian comments above mention the Kashmiris basic right of self-determination. Isn’t that what the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru promised Kashmiris? And aren’t there a few UN resolutions stating that a plebiscite should be held in the valley so that the Kashmiris can state once and for all if they want to be part of India or not?
If India is so confident that all troubles in Kashmir are due to these “Pakistani backed guerrillas”, why doesn’t it hold a plebiscite and permanently put the issue to rest.
Also, were the protests in Kashmir against Indian rule during the summer of 2008 also a Pakistani hatched conspiracy? Were those Pakistani army officers dressed as Kashmiris burning Indian flags and chanting for “azadi” from Indian rule? Or were they ordinary Kashmiris fed up of the high-handedness of the Indian administration?
Great work Prof. Duschinski. The very fact that your work has elicited incoherent, angry responses means that you must be doing something right.


There was peace in the valley for decades till Pakistan started sending Muhadeen and killing people. Why dont you tel thefacts that how many muslims have been killed by these groups and how many Indian Army.
does anyone talk about cleanising of Pandits from Kashmir valley who are living in camps in Jummu?
Maybe we Indiana re too touchy but when lies are told and facts ignored one wonders where dpo we go from here.
Is it similar to Pak gettingaway with sellin Nuclear know how but Iraq punished without reason.


The Kashmir people could have enjoyed much more autonomy under Indian Rule, if Pakistan had not sent the militia to grab a third of the Kashmir. There are 160 million Muslims living in India spread through out the country. Just because the concentration of Muslims in Kashmir valley is greater than the rest of India, does not mean that they should demand Independence. Of course, there are many pockets in India where Muslims are in majority and some day may also ask for freedom due to intimidation by other Muslim countires in the region and if India did not concede, then they will start another round of terrorism for each such pocket. There are similar problems in countries like China, Russia and Thailand. Why can’t Muslims get along with other religious people?


In your whole analysis, you never mentioned the human rights violations caused by terrorists. Kashmir was a paradise till 1980s and it was in India, remember? India was ruling then as it is now. So, what changed? Why dont you focus on the change – the export of terrorism?

Anyway, here is my analysis:
a. the landlocked province of Kashmir is not viable as an independent nation given the perilous surroundings. It is very small, inaccessible and have to depend on its neighbors for survival. Given the strategic importance, its neighbors will always take advantage of it to play their geopolitical game.

So it has to either go to India or Pakistan. At best they can get the kind of autonomy that India provides.

b. Only one part of Kashmir is a muslim-majority region and geographically the muslim majority valley is not even a third of the state. So, either the Kashmiri muslims have to stay in India or Kashmiri hindus have to stay in Pakistan. Which has the greater track record of protecting minorities?

For all its problems, India had elected various Muslims to top positions, including as Presidents. But, can hindus in Pakistan ever expect anything closer to that?

I as Indian would like press my government for ending its human rights violations like rape, etc. and would want Kashmirs to enjoy all privileges and freedom as rest of Indians. But, getting out of Kashmir? No, way.


I suggest people like Haley Duschinski to not to present their biased views as a solution to a 60 year old problem of Kashmir. Kashmir is a part of India and will never be separated from it. The various issues are imposed by Islamic fundamentalists not only onto the people of Kashmir but onto all people in India. When these fanatics are unable to control a situation they take the path of violence and terror. Indian army is playing a vital role in keeping peace in the valley. Past cowardly infiltraion by pakistani’s received a kargil war response from India to keep these terrorist away from its land. Violence and terror can never be justified especially by the people who have never been a part of it. It is very convenient for someone like Haley to sit behind a screen and comment on a sensitive issue like Kashmir. Poverty and poor infrastructures are part of many countries but they don’t encourage terrorism like pakistan , which have always failed to take any action against it. It is not easy being a neighbour of a country like pakistan which has been protecting and encouraging terrorism from all these years. Kashmir, geographically being located closest to pakistan border gets the maximum beating out of it. It is time to realize the human issues rather than pointing fingers at indifferences between hindus and muslims. It is imortant to acknowledge that terrorism never recognises any caste, creed, or race when it strikes. It has to be controlled by brave people like Indian army which protects people of India and Kashmir 24/7.


I believe Professor Haley Duschinski portrays a one-sided, superficial assessment of the kashmir conflict. As teenager I visited Kashmir numerous at least 8 times in late 70’s and early 80’s and remembered a vibrant community with a thriving tourism industry. After the Islamic insurgency in the late 80’s early 90’s the economy was destroyed and much of the present “frustration” of the Kashmir people is actually due to this. The heavy presence of Indian securty forces only exists to keep the entire region from being inflitrated by Islamic terrorist groups which have englufed the Pakistan occupied portion of Kashmir, the will of the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir cannot be expressed, because travel to the area is so dangerous and any non-Islamic based viewpoints are not tolerated. Kashmir was always a part of India, In 1947, the regional ruler of Kashmir, Hari Singh acceded Kashmir to India, after attack by newly formed Pakistan. In my opinion the root of the problem in Kashmir is terrorism, the Islamic terrorist ideology is what fuels the so called “indpendence movement” and not a visceral need for a separate state. If you remove terrorism then you bring back industry and peace to the region and the people of Kashmir can live normal lives. This will eliminate the need for heavy security forces.

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