Violence in Kashmir has existed in various forms, mainly in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian side of the disputed territory. Kashmir has been the target of a campaign of militancy by all sides in the conflict. Thousands of lives have been lost since 1989 due to the intensified insurgency. Casualties include civilians, Indian security forces, and Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri militants.
India frequently asserts that most of the separatist militant groups are based in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir (also known as Azad Kashmir). Some like the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, openly demand an independent Kashmir. Other militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed favour a Pakistani-Kashmir. These groups have contacts with Taliban and Bin Laden. Both the organisations no longer operate under these names after they were banned by the Indian and Pakistani government, and by other countries including the US and UK. Of the larger militant groups, the Hizbul Mujahideen, a militant organisation based in Indian administered Kashmir, unlike other groups, has only kept its name. Despite casualties, the militants are still believed to number thousands rather than hundreds. Several new separatist organisations have also emerged. According to US Intelligence, Al-Qaeda also has a main base in Pakistani Kashmir and is helping to foment terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
It is hard to determine the total number of casualties. According to a report by the Government of India in the year 2000, 31,000 Indian civilians had lost their lives due to the insurgency. Human rights groups and local NGOs put the total figure at more than 84,000 (2005 figure). Militancy had reached its peak in 1994 when the region saw more than 6,043 incidents and has since declined. However, Kashmir continues to remain as the most volatile region in the world with an average of 2,500 incidents every year. According to an Indian estimate in 2005 there were about 2,000 militants in the Kashmir valley alone; 1,200 of them belong to the Hizbul Mujahideen. Not all Kashmiri separatists and militant organizations share the same ideology. Some fight in the name of religion, some are openly pro-Pakistan and some favour an independent Kashmir.
Due to the presence of these numerous anti-India insurgent groups India has been compelled to deploy massive number of troops in the Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir for the task of counter insurgency. New Delhi has never made an official count, but military analysts estimate that anywhere from 30,000 to nearly 33,000 security personnel are most likely involved, supported by thousands of Indian paramilitary groups such as the Rashtriya rifles, and the Romeo Force(all a part of Indian army). Stimson.org notes of the Indian Armed forces in Kashmir that:
Some reports estimate that India deploys approximately 400,000 combined army and paramilitary forces in Kashmir, most of which are stationed in the interior, 80,000 of which are deployed along the LoC. Pakistani forces deployed along the LoC are reported to number in the 40,000-50,000 range
Times Online reports that around 250,000 Indian troops are stationed in Kashmir, while Pravda.RU, a widely read Russian News source notes that 350,000-600,000 troops may be deployed in Kashmir.
Not much is known about collaboration between the various groups, but most say they are members of an alliance known as the United Jihad Council (UJC). The two groups which India says were behind the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi known then as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Toiba are believed to be members of the UJC. India says that it was Jaish-e-Mohammed that attacked the Jammu and Kashmir State Assembly in Srinagar in October 2001. It is also known that the Jaish-e-Mohammed was responsible for the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814 to Kandahar, which forced the Government of India to release Maulana Masood Azhar, the chief of the Jaish-e-Mohammed. Recruits from various parts of the world have been sent to Pakistan-administered Kashmir for training and advice.
There is compelling evidence that elements of the Pakistani government have sponsored a significant flow of arms to Kashmiri militants [from arms bazaars in the North West Frontier Province], as well as an extensive training program.While in support of Pakistani claims, its states that "the human rights record of the Indian government in Punjab and Kashmir is appalling. Abuses in Kashmir are clearly on the rise." The US government has also supported the claim that anti-India terror groups exist in India. India claims that there are also other Afghan, Egyptian, Yemeni and Bangladeshi terrorists active in Jammu and Kashmir. The Council on Foreign Relations states that Pakistan’s military and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) both include personnel who sympathize with—or even assist—Islamist militants adding that "ISI has provided covert but well-documented support to terrorist groups active in Kashmir, among other outfits. In a recent infiltration bid, a Pakistan Army officer was shot dead, with India citing that this was clear and conclusive evidence of Pakistani involvement in the insurgency. The UN Security Council has also confirmed the existence of terrorist groups based in [Pakistani] Kashmir and urged Pakistan to crack down on terrorist groups which had been operating in Kashmir and killing innocent people.
Pakistan describes the separatists as "freedom fighters" and says that it supports their effort for the cause of the Kashmiris only morally and diplomatically. Pakistan however admits that there has been 'cross border infiltration of militants' across the line of controls LOC. In 2002, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf tried to clamp down on the militants operating from Pakistan India, however, claims that Islamabad supports these groups financially and militarily. Sources have maintained that Pakistan's intelligence organisation, Inter Services Intelligence, is the main supplier of funds and arms to these groups; a claim that Islamabad has dismissed. According to the Indian news site Rediff.com, British Government had stated in 2002 that there is a 'clear link' between Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence and three major militant groups An article in The Guardian had uncovered evidence that Pakistani militants were openly raising funds and training new recruits and that the ISI's Kashmir Cell was instrumental in funding and controlling the militant outfits. Richard Bennett, a British military and intelligence analyst states that the ISI has armed and trained generations of Islamist extremists and has directed many of their attacks both within the Kashmir and in India's major cities.
Indian sources also allege that there are between 2,600 to 3,000 militants receiving training in camps across Pakistan and Pakistan Administered Kashmir. During a peace summit between former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in January 2004, Islamabad assured India that it would do everything possible to curb the activities any training camps on its territory. However, violence has continued in Kashmir despite a 3 year long peace process between India and Pakistan. There were as many as 166 incidents in June 2005 alone in which some 201 people have died.
According to Indian sources there are about 37 training camps in Pakistan, 49 in Azad Kashmir and 22 in Afghanistan. The FBI also has produced images of camps operating in Pakistan. India claims that every year thousands of armed insurgents infiltrate into Indian-administered Kashmir and carry out attacks against Indian Security Forces and Kashmiri civilians. In June 2005, the Indian Army had foiled at least 72 infiltration attempts along the Line of Control in Kashmir. India alleges that despite the commitments made by Pervez Musharraf, Islamabad has done little to stop the training camps on its soil. According to India, most of the militants in Kashmir come from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Yemen and Bangladesh. Not all Kashmiri separatists and militant organizations share the same ideology. Some fight in the name of religion, some are pro-Pakistan and some favour an independent Kashmir. While the vast majority of militants are Muslims, one report indicated a minority of fighter (40 to 50) are Hindu militants who have either taken up arms or provided safe cover for militants.
|Location of major Militant* camps|
|Muridke (near Lahore)||Punjab, Pakistan|
|Skardu||Northern Areas, Pakistan|
|Gultari||Northern Areas, Pakistan|
|Tarkuti||Northern Areas, Pakistan|
|Batrasi||North West Frontier Province, Pakistan|
|Sufaida||North West Frontier Province, Pakistan|
|Tanda Allabyar||Sindh, Pakistan|
Note: Pakistan denies the existence of such training camps on their territory, and the existence of such camps is a matter of controversy.
Under pressure, Kashmiri militant organisations have made an offer for talks and negotiations with New Delhi, which was accepted by India. India's Border Security Force blamed the Pakistani military for providing cover-fire for the militants whenever they infiltrated into Indian territory from Pakistan. However, ever since the ceasefire has come into action, the militants have received no back-up from Pakistani Military, which has contributed significantly to the decline in cross-border terrorism in the state. Even the recently elected Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari admitted that the militants operating in Kashmir were indeed terrorists"
Indian analysts allege that by supporting these insurgents, Pakistan is trying to wage a proxy war against India while Pakistan claims that it regards most of these insurgent groups as "freedom fighters" rather than militants.