Manoj Sinha, lieutenant governor of the Indian Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, announced that the civil servants of the New Delhi government, mostly belonging to the Hindu community, will be relocated to safer districts. The announcement was made following episodes of violence targeted against “Kashmir pundits”, the latest on May 12, when a Hindu employee, Rahul Bhat, who worked in a public office in Chadoora, was killed. by Budgam. Sinha informed the delegations of the Indian People’s Party (BJP) and the People’s Alliance for the Gupkar (Pagd) declaration, which includes various regional political forces, of the decision. The Alliance urged the pundits not to leave the Kashmir Valley, which is predominantly Muslim, and to face together the tragic situation that has afflicted the territory for decades.
A wave of attacks on civilians, some of them claimed by the Resistance Front (TRF, The Resistance Front), broke out last October. Among the targets belonging to the Hindu and Sikh communities, minorities in the region, with a Muslim majority, and non-local workers. In March, in response to a parliamentary question, the Ministry of the Interior reported that 229 “terrorist incidents” were recorded in the Territory in 2021, against 244 in 2020, and 180 “terrorists” were killed, against 221 in 2020; in addition, 34 infiltrations were counted, compared to 51 in 2020. Also in March, the Ministry of Defense, responding to another question from the parliament, reported that the situation along the line of control remained stable after the agreement of 25 February 2021 among the respective general directors of military operations, although there are “indications of an emerging narco-terrorist nexus sponsored by hostile elements across the border aimed at causing instability, especially along border areas”.
The conflict in Kashmir has dragged on since 1947, from the birth of India (predominantly Hindu) and Pakistan (predominantly Islamic) as independent states from the British colonial empire and the accession of the principality of Jammu and Kashmir to India, not recognized by Pakistan. Both countries claim the entire region, divided between the Indian Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Pakistani administrative divisions of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. There are several Indo-Pakistani wars linked to the Kashmiri territory: in 1947, 1965 and 1999. Despite the successive declarations of peace and cease-fire, the last in 2003, the clashes still continue, with a resurgence from 2016 and a further increase in tension from 2019, the year of the Pulwama attack, followed by air strikes. Kashmir is not only a conflict between the two states, but also internal to India, which exploded especially starting from 1989, the year of the first actions of the separatist rebels. It is estimated that since the 1980s, between Pakistani actions and Indian repression, at least 40,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in Kashmir. In 2019, Indian Jammu and Kashmir was deprived of its autonomy and transformed from state to territory.