Calling 2020 the most violent since 2016 when Kashmir witnessed months-long protests against India triggered by the killing of iconic rebel commander Burhan Wani, a report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project predicts that the violence along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to see an increase this year.
According to (ACLED) Project notes that while the borders are likely to stay ‘hot’,” an explosive situation inside Kashmir could deteriorate further.
The grim prediction is based on ACLED’s analysis of the events of 2020. Both India and Pakistan accuse each other of violating the 2003 border cease-fire agreement.
India last year said Pakistan violated it 5,133 times in 2020, while Pakistan accused Indian troops of violating the agreement more than 1,600 times.
The report, lists Kashmir as one of the 10 conflicts to watch for in 2021 alongside others such as Yemen, Myanmar, Ethiopia, and Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The report said there could be a surge in the activity of domestic and foreign militants in Kashmir because of ‘policy shifts’ after Aug 5th, 2019, when India stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomous status and divided it into two centrally ruled territories.
It said another source of a possible spur in militant activity is new citizenship and land laws that allow outsiders to purchase land in Jammu and Kashmir besides claiming residency. Before Aug 5th, only Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist residents of the Muslim-majority region had these rights.
An ongoing exercise aimed at redrawing the local legislative assembly segments will shift the power to the Hindu-majority Jammu region, the report said. The resulting marginalization of Muslims “could, in turn, spur militant activity in the region,” the report noted.
“Though the rise in militancy is attributed to Pakistan-based jihadi groups, disillusionment, and anger caused by India’s move on Aug 5th has enabled both domestic and foreign (militant) groups to recruit Kashmiris,” the report said.
An ongoing exercise aimed at redrawing the local legislative assembly segments will shift the power to the Hindu-majority Jammu region, the report said. The resulting marginalisation of Muslims “could in turn spur militant activity in the region,” it said.