1999-now Kashmir History
- In May 1998, India conducts nuclear tests; Pakistan also responds with nuclear tests. On 21 February 1999, India and Pakistan sign Lahore Declaration, agreeing to ‘intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.’ Soon after his visit to Lahore, the Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee states that ‘Kashmir is an integral part of India and not a single area of Indian soil would be given away.’
Victoria Schofield, Kashmir in Conflict, New York 2000, pp.207-8.
- In June 1998, Regional Autonomy Committee (RAC) proposes devolution of political power at regional, district, block and panchayats levels and allocation of funds according to an objective and equitable formula. Measures are also suggested to safeguard and promote cultures of various ethnic communities. Subsequently, the State Government substitutes the RAC report with its own report recommending the division of the three regions (Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu) into eight autonomous units on ethnic-religious lines without proposing any devolution of political and economic powers.
- In May 1999, the Indian Army patrols detect intruders from Pakistan on Kargil ridges in Kashmir. India fights to regain lost territory. The infiltrators are withdrawn by Pakistan in mid-July, following Washington Agreement with US. War between India and Pakistan becomes more frightening given the nuclear weaponry possessed by both countries and Kashmir remains the underlying flashpoint.
- In March 2000, around the time of US President Clinton’s visit to India, unidentified gunmen gun down 36 Sikhs at Chittisinghpora; India blames foreign militants; Kashmiris blame renegade militants employed by Indian security forces; No judicial inquiry has been conducted till date.
- In June 2000, the State Autonomy Committee( SAC) Report is discussed and an autonomy resolution is adopted in the J&K Assembly. The SAC Report recommends restoration of Article 370 to pre-1953 status with Indian jurisdiction limited to defence, foreign affairs and communications; Subsequently, the Indian Cabinet rejects the autonomy recommendation in July.
- In November 2000, India announces an unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir which continues through May 2001; APHC welcomes the ceasefire but states that the ceasefire will not be effective unless it is supplemented with unconditional dialogues to resolve the Kashmir dispute and an end to human right violations by the Indian forces. The Hizb declares an unilateral ceasefire in July which is withdrawn only two weeks later, following India’s refusal to include Pakistan in any trilateral talks over the Kashmir dispute proposed by the militants.
- In July 2001, India and Pakistan fail to arrive at a joint agreement at Agra Summit, given the deadlock on Kashmir. India accuses Pakistan for engaging in cross-border terrorism; Pakistan denies the accusations It is interesting to note that Pakistan has accused the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of the Indian intelligence service in the past for fomenting cross-border terrorism in relation to various incidents of bomb blasts in Pakistan, which India has denied.
- Dec 13, 2001: Following the terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament, India and Pakistan build up massive troops along the border triggering another threat of a nuclear exchange. After months of diplomacy, troops are withdrawn on either side.
- May 21, 2002: Abdul Ghani Lone, a leading and popular moderate Hurriyat leader is assassinated by unidentified gunmen. It is instructive to note that Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq had been assassinated by unidentified gunmen exactly 12 years back. On both occasions, India blames Pakistan sponsored militants while Kashmiris blame Indian sponsored renegades. Unless an impartial investigation is carried out, it is not possible to ascertain these claims in such attacks by unidentified gunmen who could be either separatist militants or renegades.
- 2002-2008: There have been numerous attacks on Hindus by unidentified gunmen including 2003 Nadimarg massacre and 2006 Doda massacre. India blames it on foreign militants and Kashmiris blame it on renegade militants used by Indian security forces. The State assembly elections held in 2002 and 2008 have been relatively free and fair but the voters turned out in large numbers more to improve local governance than to signal their support for Indian rule in Kashmir.
- 2008-2009: Huge anti-India protests were held against the transfer of land to SASB (shrine board), which was an outside state organization, as it was a direct violation of article 370 of the Indian constitution.In May 2009, there were huge anti-India protests against rape and murder of two young women by Indian armed forces in Shopian village.
- 2010: Tens of thousands take to the streets in protest against killings of civilians and several hundreds injured, many of them due to Indian security forces firing into the unarmed crowd of civilian protestors.
Tens of Thousands protest in Srinagar in August 2010
2011- 2012: Mass GravesAn inquiry by the police investigation team of the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has found 2,730 bodies dumped into unmarked graves in four out of 14 districts of the state. Thousands of Kashmiris have been forcibly disappeared during the last two decades of violence, their whereabouts unknown.
- 2014: In September 2014, the Jammu & Kashmir region was hit by heavy floods caused by torrential rainfall. By September 24, 2014, nearly 284 people in India and 280 people in Pakistan had died due to the floods. According to the Home Ministry of India, several thousand villages across the state had been hit and 350 villages had been submerged.
1999-now Kashmir History
Human Rights Watch,INDIA’S SECRET ARMY IN KASHMIR , New Delhi 1999, pp.71-2.
Amnesty International,Impunity must end in Jammu and Kashmir , 2001.