[Reader-list] Achin Vanaik on Kashmir

abir bazaz abirbazaz at rediffmail.com
Wed Dec 26 14:49:09 IST 2001

from tehelka.com

...Kashmir has been reduced to a problem of terrorism. The fact that the people of the area are now alienated from both sides finds no mention in discourse on the Kashmir problem. The actual assessment of Kashmir is that it is not a problem caused by Pakistan. The troubled waters of Kashmir were the brainchild of Indian politicians. Pakistani politicians are merely fishing in those waters. 

Now this is a different picture from the pretentious nonsense I heard Arun Jaitely speaking the other day. He said, "Since 1989, the only reason we have had this problem in Kashmir is because of Pakistani terrorism."

I'll just give you some figures about Kashmir:

How many Indian soldiers, armed forces, personnel of various kind, paramilitary troops, etc are there in Kashmir? Do you have any idea? About half a million. That includes auxiliary troops and everything. 

What is the population of Kashmir? Roundabout six million.

This is among the heaviest, if not the heaviest, concentration of armed personnel to civilians anywhere in the world. 

What is the combined strength of the main militant groups in Kashmir? According to official figures, it is between four and six thousand.

You have 5,00,000 troops to try and cope with 6,000 militants? 

How many people have died in Kashmir? The official figure in 1996 was 45,000. It has been six years since, and the figure has surely doubled. And, the official figures underestimate the actual number by a long way. It must have been around 60,000 in 1996 itself. 

Let us say a sixth of this is security personnel of India. That takes out 10,000 from 60,000, and you have 50,000 left. Let us assume that of this 50,000, Pakistani terrorists were responsible for most killings, though without official figures it would be wrong to assume that. Let's say they killed 70 per cent of this 50,000. That still leaves you with some 10,000 that were killed by Indian forces. The facts speak for themselves. No one is speaking for the freedom of the people of Kashm

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