From the March-April 2017 issue of News & Letters
Indian troops continue intermittent clashes with young militants in various villages in Kashmir. It is the latest episode in a 30-year-long insurgency. A significant part of Kashmir’s population continues to demand the independence that was denied in the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan.
While India has an overwhelming military force occupying Kashmir, militant groups remain active. Some may receive support from Pakistani intelligence services, but there is no doubt that many villages support and protect these indigenous militants and their demands for an independent Kashmir.
Shouts of “Azaadi!” the Urdu word for freedom, are heard at protests. The New York Times (Nov. 15, 2016) described the relation between the young insurgents and the villagers:
“It is hard to make arrests because the militants operate in the forests around the villages where they grew up. When the police close in, crowds of people rush to the scene and try to stop the security forces by throwing rocks, yelling chants and generally interfering, knowing the officers will resist shooting at them. ‘From the front side you are fighting the militants, and from the back side you are getting hit by stones,’ said the police chief.”