A brief overview of the changing contours of Terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir
On 24 February 2019, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack in the Pulwama district of Indian Administered Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) claimed the lives of 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, further injuring scores of others. Without delay, the internationally designed terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), was quick to claim responsibility over what was the biggest terror attack the Kashmir Valley had witnessed in decades. Once again, a region that had so often been labeled as ‘Paradise on Earth’ and praised for its unique ability to nurture religious pluralism, catapulted to international headlines for all the wrong reasons. For many Kashmiris, the attack was a painful déjà vu of when violence first broke out in 1990s, with scores of Kashmiris crossing the Line of Control (LoC) into neighboring Pakistan to undergo weapon training. Upon return, a significant number of the disillusioned young men indulged in large scale subversive attacks, leaving the Valley imbued with an odor of fear.
Through a chronological lens, this paper attempts to explain the genesis and transformation of violence in Indian Administered J&K, taking as its departure point the allegedly rigged elections in 1987. Yet, contrary to the general belief that terrorism in the region can be attributed to this event, it was in fact the secretive Pakistani conspiracy – also known as Operation Topac - which was the flame that ignited the already smoldering Kashmir. This first phase of terrorism, which began in the late 1980s and early 1990s, was initially led by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and was characterized by propagated slogans for the independence of Kashmir, irrespective of their paradoxical nature as the JKLF was financed and supported by the Pakistani military establishment and acted at its behest. However, even these false dreams were dashed when Pakistan abandoned ostensible secular and pro-independence groups, and instead began to cultivate outfits which embraced fundamentalist religious ideologies. This gave rise to an era of religious terrorism and harsh counterinsurgency measures implemented by the Indian State.
Contemporary terrorism in Kashmir flourished a decade after the turn of the millennium, in the post-internet era, where digital elements distinctly set it apart from previous phases of violence. Vulnerable Kashmiri youngsters are exploited by terrorist organizations through means of social media, using clever recruitment patterns and ideological persuasions. The argument put forward in this paper is that in order to devise appropriate responses that suit the contours of contemporary forms of radicalization and terrorism, it is imperative to first identify and examine the historical variables responsible for the overall phenomenon of terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir. Rather than suppressing violence through only security measures, Indian authorities would benefit from examining the root causes which have contributed to the flourishing of this new terrorism in the Kashmir Valley.
Alleged Rigged Election 1987 in Jammu & Kashmir
In 1986, Farooq Abdullah had paradoxically struck an accord with Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress and returned to power by concluding an alliance with the party. This intensified the already existing feeling of discontent among many Kashmiris who - in a state of disillusionment and confusion - expressed their deep sentiment of betrayal with communal riots and a growing support for the Muslim United Front (MUF). While initially established in 1986 with the aim of safeguarding the interests of Muslims in the Valley, it soon became apparent that MUF was highly inspired by numerous fundamentalist groups including their particular focus on Islamic solidarity and restoration of religious and political rights. Indeed, it were these concepts that the MUF mobilized in the 1987 elections – underlining the identity of Muslim brotherhood, Kashmiri identity and the ideology of an Islamic State. Yet, despite polling 38.2% votes, the opposition comprised of MUF and People’s Conference Party could register victory barely in 4 out of 43 electoral constituencies, generating a feeling of skepticism vis-à-vis the validity of the results (Chowdhary, 2009). The political outrage caused by the allegedly rigged elections resulted not only in strikes and incidences of violence, but also in the permanent loss of faith in the democratic exercise among many Kashmiri youth, who felt like they had been deceived. There is a general consensus over the fact that the flawed elections created a catalyst for radicalization and terrorism that followed in the following year. Nevertheless, contrary to the popular view that youth picked up their guns solely as a response to an undemocratically democratic political exercise, it was the on-going conspiracy organized by Pakistan which eventually gave birth to a cycle of violence.
‘Operation Topac’: A Pakistani Conspiracy
Although the genesis of terrorism is often solely attributed to the allegedly flawed Assembly Elections held in 1987, this assumption is erroneous. In fact, it was the execution of Pakistan’s secretive plot – Operation Topac – devised as early as 1982 and implemented in Indian Administered J&K in 1988 which unleased havoc. Conspired by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and authorized by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the central objectives of this Machiavellian plan were to instigate terrorism and the unleashing of a proxy war in Indian Administered J&K. More specifically, as underlined in ‘Ethnic, Cultural and Religious Diversity in Jammu & Kashmir: Perceptions on unity and discord – Demise of the Kashmiriyat’, the objectives of Operation Topac were three-fold: firstly, to succeed in persuading youth from Indian Administered J&K to cross the LoC to seek weapon training. Thereafter, the trained youngsters were expected to carry out large scale subversive activities which in turn would create an atmosphere of terror and further demoralize the Indian administration. Thirdly, the Muslim majority in the Kashmir Valley was to be “liberated” and become part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The first phase of the operation began in 1988, when a significant number of young Kashmiri men – fueled by rage and naïve hopes of freedom – crossed the LoC into Pakistan and Pakistan Administered Jammu and Kashmir. The process of joining the militancy was intense, with recruits travelling through rough terrain, jungles and heights for several days – simultaneously, terror training camps mushroomed along the LoC (Shah, 2020). Recruits would be inducted into programs and underwent rigorous, extensive training – some sources, including the claim made by former President of Pakistan General (retired) Pervez Musharraf in 2019, suggest that these could last from six months to a year and were conducted alongside Afghan Mujahideen and the Pakistan Army. Thereafter, many of the battle-hardened young men successfully acquired weapons and returned to the Valley – their corrupted minds and hearts ready to initiate an insurgency.
In the initial period of the operation, the ISI supported groups such as the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), founded in 1977 in the United Kingdom. Led by Amanullah Khan, the JKLF committed itself to a self-styled secular armed struggle which advocated for the secession of Indian Administered J&K from India. Its first appearance on the stage of rising violence took place on 31 July 1988, when the outfit set off explosive devices in Srinagar – the capital of Indian Administered J&K. Subsequently, the group proceeded with kidnapping the daughter of Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayed, Dr. Rubiya Sayed, demanding the release of five other terrorists. Capitulating to the pressure, the Indian Government agreed to the demand, which in turn boosted the confidence and stimulation of the JKLF. Yet, in the beginning of the 1990s, Pakistan had become wary of JKLF and its apparent and propagated pro-independence nature which did not adhere to the former’s radical plans for Jammu & Kashmir. In the wake of losing Pakistan’s support, JKLF was gradually marginalized and subsequently witnessed its weakening; its quarters had either been dispersed, destroyed or absorbed into other groups wherefore the movement died down by 1993.
The Unfolding of Terror in Jammu & Kashmir
Following the withdrawal of its support to JKLF, Pakistan shifted its focus toward another terrorist organization, Hizbul Mujahideen, which shared the Pakistani vision: first, the merger of Indian Administered J&K with Pakistan; and secondly, the establishment of an Islamic order with the introduction of jihad. It did not take long for Jammu and Kashmir to witness the birth of terrorist organizations that proclaimed the objective of their struggle as the ‘Islamization’ of Kashmir. Terrorist outfits such as Hizb-e-Islami, Harkat-ul-Ansar, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen - all trained and driven with the fuel of fundamentalist ideologies – began to creep into the Valley. Inevitably, with the proliferation of terrorist outfits, many jostled for space and dominance, leading to a brutal internecine conflict (Shah, 2020). For instance, the JKLF’s slogan, ‘Kashmir banega khudmukhtar’ [‘Kashmir will be sovereign’] stood in contradiction to the Hizbul Mujahideen’s – ‘Kashmir banega Pakistan’ [‘Kashmir will be part of Pakistan’], wherefore the latter outfit embarked on a campaign of killing those in favor of independence (Bose, 2011). The political response found itself in the establishment of a political front, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in 1993, created by Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as explained and admitted by Lieutenant General Mohammad Asad Durrani who served as the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Director-General of the Pakistan Army's Military Intelligence in his book, ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’ published in 2018. Formed as an umbrella organization, the political amalgam was created in order to give a sense of unity and common direction to those participating in the militancy au lieu of engaging in an internal strife (Schofield, 2000). The amalgam has, since then, been consistently promoted by Pakistan in the latter’s quest to establish legitimacy over its claim on Indian Administered J&K.
In the wake of the terrorism, the concepts of jihad and Islamism emerged into the Kashmiri society, mostly expressing themselves in the outbreak of communal violence. The Kashmiri Pandits, an elite group among Hindus, became particular targets of the terrorists, whereby the malicious campaign against the minority, was launched by publishing write-ups in local newspapers, shouting slogans, and performing sermons at mosques as a means of inciting hatred and prejudice. With the threat of death as reprisal, a final ultimatum was given to Pandits, asking them to leave the Valley. This resulted in the exodus of about 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits in 1989-1990, where local Muslims who resisted the act, were also forced to bear the brunt of atrocities by Islamist terrorist and mercenaries.
The gradual ‘Islamiziation’ of Kashmiri Society
Violence was met with a heavy hand by the Indian authorities, as it met the definitions of cross-border terrorism supported by Pakistan. The Indian Government decided to severely militarize the Kashmir Valley and a federal paramilitary unit called the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was sent to join the local police force to battle against terrorists. Later in July 1990, a special act known as the Armed Forces Police Force was passed by the Indian Government in order to deal with the increasingly violent environment that was brewing. In the summer of 1996, the terrorists had lost strength and momentum, whereby the Indian security forces had regained control over Srinagar and other major towns, and elections were conducted (Bose, 2011).
The negative impact of terrorism and presence of Indian security forces on the Kashmiri society was almost inevitable. Throughout the first half of the 1990s, the education system in Kashmir crippled as a result of schools being more often closed than open (Devadas, 2018: 50). Life for individuals was a constant battle between terrorism and counterinsurgency; between fear and uncertainty. ‘Crackdowns’ – a term commonly used by Kashmiris for the cordon-and-search operations through which the Indian army tried to discover terrorists and arms dumps – generated trauma and fear among ordinary families. What occurred as a result was a societal transformation at large whereby the trend of Pan-Islamism gradually began to creep into the Kashmir Valley - presenting itself as a savior to vulnerable and helpless youth.
Cognizant of the possibility at stirring chaos in the Valley, Pakistan grasped the opportunity to devise a plan in order to convert the multi-lingual and multi-cultural Kashmiri culture into a hardcore Islamic society, on the lines of Afghanistan, through the fear of the gun. Various Islamist groups, including Jamaat-e-Islami and its militant wing, Hizbul Mujahideen, the radical women’s wing Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Jamiat ul-Mujahideen, Islamic Students League, Zia Tigers, and several other groups decreed the goal of their struggle as Islamization of the socio-political and economic set-up, merger of Jammu & Kashmir with Pakistan and establishment of an Islamic Caliphate. Moreover, attempts at the Talibanization of the region included the rendering of mosques into platforms for religious sermons intermingled with fiery political speeches, delivered by trained Islamic scholars (Mullahs), orchestrated by Pakistan Central governmental officials. Kashmir, which was traditionally known for its peaceful co-existence between various religions and ethnicities, had gradually begun to experience radial, societal changes. Encouragement – and sometimes threats – to follow Islamic rules, such as the abidance to Islamic dress codes, banning of cinemas and a prohibition on alcohol, became a part of everyday life for Kashmiris in the 1990s.
Kashmir in the turn of the Millennium
As the turn of the millennium approached, the region of Jammu & Kashmir found itself caught between periods of peace and violence. For instance, the State Assembly elections held in 1996 – although boycotted by terrorist groups – once again raised hopes of the restoration of democracy as Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference was appointed as the Chief Minister of the State. Yet, any hopes stemming from the relatively peaceful period that prevailed in the region were abruptly shattered in the wake of the ‘1998 Wandhama Massacre’, when 23 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by terrorists. The incident, which was carried out on the eve of a national celebration in the constituency of Farooq Abdullah, was a painful reminder of the sheer wickedness of the fundamentalist terrorist outfits which were supported by Pakistan.
Simultaneously, India continued to work on its two-pronged strategy vis-à-vis Kashmir: first, it consolidated its military control and improved fencing of the LoC, which in turn made it more difficult for terrorist groups to operate in significant numbers in areas outside of mountainous peripheries. This move also rendered the process of weapon smuggling across the border more challenging. The second aspect of the strategy focused on the politics, which quickly turned in India’s favor. While the Jammu & Kashmir conundrum might have disappeared from international headlines in the early 2000s, this did not mean that Kashmir would remain unaffected by the turbulence of global world order.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, India saw its opportunity to undermine Pakistan whereby it underlined the role of latter in instigating and supporting terrorism in Kashmir. As the Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said shortly after the attacks, “Our fight against terrorism did not start on September 11, we have been fighting this battle alone for years now. Pakistan has spawned, encouraged and sustained terrorist activities in Kashmir” (Gul, 2004: 70). Suddenly, America began to exert pressure on General Pervez Musharraf – chief architect of the 1999 Kargil conflict – to curb the Pakistan’s military support for cross-border terrorism in Kashmir. While the withdrawal of support was certainly the consequence of pressure - rather than a change of heart among the security establishment – the souring of the relationship resulted in a notable reduction in terrorism-related violence in J&K (Staniland, 2013 :940). Furthermore, the rate of fidayeen (suicide) attacks – targeting various Indian army and paramilitary camps – dropped significantly. Peace, it seemed, had temporarily been restored through means of global politics and effective counterinsurgency measures.
‘The Generation of Rage in Kashmir’
Although to the outside world, terrorism in Kashmir had declined in the first decade of the new millennium, unrest was in fact simmering just beneath the surface. In the summer of 2008, this unrest was detonated as a response to the Amarnath land transfer controversy, which consisted of the State government’s decision to transfers 99 acres of forest land in the Valley to the Hindu Amarnath Shrine, meant to set up temporary shelters and facilities for Hindu pilgrims. What ensued was the largest demonstrations that the Kashmir Valley had witnessed since 1994, as hundreds of thousands joined the protests.
Yet, there was something inherently different about the tens of thousands of stone-pelters who ran across the streets; while their predecessors who had picked up the AK-47, the weapon of these predominantly teenage boys and young men was the stone. David Devadas, Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences in New Delhi, juxtaposes two separate generations, one born in the 1990s and the other born in the new millennium (Rajrasheshwari, 2019). He argues that the former, which had taken up arms against the State, had witnessed the State tactics of control deployed during the 1990s. These included, but were not limited to, ‘crackdowns’ and random searches which were perceived humiliating and resulted in cases of generational trauma, and resentment against Indian authority. Devadas argues that it was indeed the mismanagement of the situation in Kashmir by the Indian authority, coupled with a sense of humiliation and various means of control by paramilitary forces, which gave rise to a generation filled with ‘rage’. He uses the example of soldiers questioning a civilian and making him lift his pheran (coat) to show that there were no hidden weapons.
“For the armed forces, this was minimal harassment compared with the 1990’s. Kashmiri who clearly remembered the repression of the 1990s also thought of it as much reduced trouble and humiliation. But to young Kashmiris with little or no memory of the 1990s, but an assertive new sense of self-worth, it was intolerable” - Devadas, D. (2018) The Generation of Rage in Kashmir.
This millennial generation has been shaped by very different influences, experiences, and aspirations as compared to their predecessors; this generation had experienced processes such as the rise in connectivity, an increasing global Islamic consciousness, and the rise of fundamentalist ideologies on a global scale (Devadas, 2018). While it is important to acknowledge certain shortcomings of the Indian State in the handling of Kashmir, insofar as continuing its militarization efforts, the rise of new terrorism cannot solely be attributed to these failings. Rather, in the course of the last decades, global forces of Pan-Islamism and political Islam have taken root in the Valley. This has manifested in a wave of intense religious radicalization accompanied by fundamentalism, which in turn has nurtured a new generation of terrorists. Their understanding of jihad, Islam and the consciousness of religious identity is heightened during episodes of rage, which in turn has manifested in a certain permissibility - if not promotion - of terrorism.
Following the accidental death of a Kashmiri schoolboy, Tufail Mattoo, due to teargas shelling in June 2010, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, called for the complete demilitarization of Indian Administered J&K. But in addition to the political agenda of separatist politicians, one can perceive the manner in which Islamist ideology has figured more prominently in political discourses, almost fully eroding any ostensible quasi-secular elements left from the late 1980s. Indeed, the narrative of “Azadi baraye Islam” [Sharia-ruled Islamic Kashmir or Kashmir as a part of global Islamic Caliphate] has become a dominant narrative, phasing out the previous rhetoric of “Azadi baraye Kashmir” [Independent Kashmir] and “Azadi baraye Pakistan” [Kashmir joining Pakistan] (Pandya, 2020). The power and magnitude of this new religious rhetoric was clearly visible in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by Indian paramilitary forces in June 2016. The death of Burhan, described by some as “the poster boy of new-age militancy in Kashmir [who] glorified the idea of the caliphate and of a sharia-ruled Kashmir” (Pandya, 2020:16) resulted in massive civil unrest, engulfing all 10 districts of the Valley. Suddenly, the approval for terrorism was on the rise, which manifested in the increase of homegrown terrorism. As Devadas argues: “While 2010 represented a cry of distress at innocents being clubbed with militancy, 2016 witnessed an endorsement of militancy” (Devadas, 2018: 35). Yet, this novel form of terrorism embodies numerous characteristics which were largely absent from its predecessor – as explained in the following section, it exploits the evolving forms of digitalization.
The Era of ‘Cyber Jihad’
A central event which would ultimately transform the dynamics of terrorism - not only in Jammu & Kashmir, but around the world – was the invention and spread of mobile phones in the first decade of the new millennium. In the context of Kashmir, roughly a thousand mobile numbers were initially allowed in 2002 – by 2007, that number had crossed a million. Ultimately, it was the drastic increase in 3G connectivity in 2010 which would have an astounding impact during the violence later that year (Devadas, 2018: 14-15). The increase in connectivity exposed young Kashmiris to global narratives which expressed cynicism regarding the underlying motives of America’s ‘War on Terror’, in addition to conspiracy theories about a growing anti-Muslims axis. Moreover, these communication networks began to spread misleading ideas about religion, ideas which were chiefly propagated by fundamentalist outfits.
In the contemporary era, endlessly evolving technologies have enabled notorious terrorist organizations to master the art of dissemination of propaganda, and online radicalization and recruitment. By now, many of these processes have become streamlined. Indeed, the dramatic increase in the multitude of various social media platforms, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter, has marked the beginning of what has become known as ‘Cyber jihad’. While the most notorious example is undoubtedly that of the Islamic State (IS), which successfully exploited all of the aforementioned platforms in its attempt to lure individuals around the world to join its version of jihad, the region of Indian Administered J&K has not dodged this new dangerous phenomenon.
The emergence of the so-called ‘WhatsApp Warriors’ in the region of Jammu & Kashmir illustrates how, through the weaponization of a social media platform, terrorist outfits have succeeded in luring vulnerable youth to participate in violence. In essence, the ‘WhatsApp Warriors’ phenomenon generally consists of barricaded terrorists – who are in the process of getting caught – sending messages to WhatsApp groups in the local area, underlining that they have been exposed and that the battle is imminent. As a result, emotional youngsters approach the location with the objective of disrupting the security operation by pelting stones and creating havoc, ultimately with the aim of helping the terrorists to flee.
Sentiments of brotherhood and fighting for an Islamic cause are incessantly propagated by various terrorist outfits; this not only emboldens young, senseless men to act as human shields for terrorists, but also encourages them to pick up arms (Bhatt, 2018). Bombarded with terrorist propaganda and extremist ideology, coupled with a growing sense of resentment, youngsters are pushed further towards violence. Flaunting Kalashnikov rifles and uploading their photographs online becomes the declaration of their determination. More alarmingly, the glorification of the culture of ‘martyrdom’ has grown, beginning to form the new driving narrative for terrorism and violence (Click, 2019).
This paper has attempted to briefly outline the history of terrorism in Indian Administered Jammu & Kashmir from the end of the 1980s to present-day. Although the genesis of terrorism is often attributed to the alleged flawed Assembly Elections held in 1987, this claim stands on an incorrect assumption. In fact, it was the realization phase of Pakistan’s conspiracy – Operation Topac – that succeeded in causing permanent wounds to Jammu & Kashmir. Youth from Kashmir were lured to Pakistan and Pakistan Administered J&K with fake dreams of independence, where they engaged in weapon training funded by the Pakistani State. This allowed terrorism to flourish in the early 1990s, which was responded with tough counterinsurgency measures by the Indian State authorities, which left the Valley imbued with an odor of fear and resentment.
The inevitable forces of globalization derived from the introduction and spread of mobile phones and internet in the region of Jammu & Kashmir ultimately transformed the dynamics of terrorism. During the first decade of the new millennium, young Kashmiris were exposed to narratives and ideologies emanating from around the world, whereby many started to view the situation in Kashmir through a global prism, equating it incorrectly with cases like Palestine. Moreover, ideologies of pan-Islamism and a global jihad were increasingly propagated by terrorist outfits, which in turn had a robust influence on the susceptible minds of young Kashmiris. The effects of increased digital connectivity, coupled with a growing resentment towards Indian authorities, were clearly expressed in the nature of the ‘new militancy’ which began to flourish in the second decade of the new millennium. Unlike their predecessors who had travelled to Pakistan Administered J&K to undergo intense weapon training, these predominantly teenage boys and young men had chosen stones as their form of weapon.
In the era of digitalization, terrorist organizations do not solely encourage young people to engage in street-violence, but also exploit social media to glamourize terrorism and the idea of an ideological war which is being fought in this new operational theatre. While it would be naïve to completely disregard effects of counter-terrorism efforts the Indian authorities have played – more specifically, the mismanagement of militarization in Kashmir – it is nevertheless imperative to underline the power of extremist propaganda in the flourishing of this ‘new militancy’. In an era where Islamic terrorists have evolved into the new role models and the glorification of ‘martyrdom’ is omnipresent online, it is no wonder that vulnerable Kashmiri youngsters have become disillusioned.
The future of terrorism in Indian Administered J&K remains uncertain. It appears that many might have found hope in the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which took place on 5 August 2019. Although the abolition of Jammu & Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status was followed by economic justifications – a clear attempt at converting the terrorist narrative to an economic-development narrative – it is evident that Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism was the State’s main concern. As Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, confidently affirmed in an interview on 9 August 2019: “This is going to be the last phase of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir” (Ahuja, 2020). Prior to the revocation of the status, the Ministry of Home Affairs had granted approval for the mobilization of thousands of paramilitary troops into Jammu and Kashmir, whereafter a communication blackout was ordered, including the shutting down of cable TV, landlines, cellphones and the Internet. These initiatives were justified as to prevent an outbreak of violence, referring to the mass demonstrations following the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016. Naturally, the clampdown has had its impact on terrorism figures; in the course of recent months, many newspapers have gone so far as to declare various regions in Kashmir as ‘militancy free’ (The Times of India, 2020; Indian Express, 2020). Nevertheless, it is difficult to predict what the outcomes will be once the measures start to erode; A much larger number of Kashmiri youngers joining terrorist groups and embracing radical ideologies remains a serious threat, especially when this is encouraged by the highest political office in Pakistan.
Rather than attempting to suppress radical ideologies, or to say - ‘terrorism in the mind’-, through merely a security prism and law and order measures, Indian authorities would do well to recognize the underlying sentiment of disillusionment and the formidable online and offline indoctrination infrastructures which have driven some of these young Kashmiris to pick up the gun. The investment in educational and professional opportunities, coupled with deradicalization efforts aimed towards youth, would surely be beneficial not only for the Indian State, but for the entire future generation of Jammu & Kashmir.
December 2020. © European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), Amsterdam