Chances of Kashmir solution diminishing: Washington Post
10 July 2000
The News International
WASHINGTON DC: The violence in Kashmir appears to be intensifying again with the chances of a peaceful compromise diminishing further, says The Washington Post.The report cites a variety of factors - the hardening of religious tension between Hindus and Muslims, a surge in custodial killings by Indian forces, and the curt rejection by New Delhi of the Kashmiri legislature''s request for political autonomy - for this rapid narrowing of the scope for peaceful compromise.The Post says that with relations between India and Pakistan at their most hostile in years, chances for rapprochement are extremely dim, and the regional stalemate seems more intractable than ever.Indian leaders refuse to talk to Pakistan as long as it allegedly supports the guerrilla violence in Kashmir, and they are still smarting after the Kargil invasion. The report opines that the rejection of the autonomy proposal also damaged chances for proposed talks between New Delhi and the Muslim separatist leaderse.It says recently a rash of alleged custodial killings has plagued Indian security forces, provoking public protests and reprimands from civilian officials. Even Farooq Abdullah had to demand in a meeting of security officials that they respect human rights.As the influence of Islamic and Jihad groups has grown, the traditional, tolerant Sufi ideology long prevalent among Kashmiris also has hardened. The report cites Sopore as the site of periodic Indian military repression. Hundreds of alleged insurgents have died in custody, and markets have been repeatedly torched by security forces in retaliation for insurgent attacks.In May, six young men vanished from Sopore, allegedly en route to an Islamic preaching retreat. Several days later, the army announced that it had killed and buried the militants after a clash near the Pakistani border. Demonstrations broke out in Sopore despite the heavy security presence. The victims'' families complained that security forces routinely detained men and boys in Sopore, torturing them for information.