A total of 19 people have been killed in the recent weeks in Kashmir, where a bloody secessionist struggle has been taking place for the last two decades, and where violence just re-erupted between the Indian forces administering this region, and the secessionist militias (click here to read the article: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/03/23/kashmir.fighting/index.html). Kashmir, once a beautiful mountainous area tucked between India and Pakistan and known for its natural beauty, has become an epitome of violent secession ism sparked by intense rivalry between two potent nations (India and Pakistan). Both India and Pakistan assert territorial claims to Kashmir, and India currently administers a large portion of Kashmir. The Kashmirs people view themselves as independent and distinct from both India and Pakistan.
Historically, the Kashmirs lived peacefully and quietly, as eloquently described by Salman Rushdie in his recent novel, "Shalimar the Clown." However, in the recent decades, Kashmir fell prey to Pakistani and other Muslim extremist militias, which sought to restore strict Islamic law in this region, and to gain strategic and military advantages from installing troops and training camps in such a remote region, from which they could easily launch attacks and hide from possible retaliation and capture. This in turn provoked a violent reaction from the Indian government, which sent troops into Kashmir in order to reassert its own reign over this region. The Kashmirs thus found themselves in the midst of a power struggle between Pakistan and India, unable to fend for themselves and to isolate themselves from military, political and social influences exerted on them by these two countries. The Kashmirs would probably like to secede from both India and Pakistan; yet, they are stuck in no-man's land, as a tug-of-war continues for control over Kashmir by its powerful neighbors.
Kashmir has become another unfortunate example of an underdeveloped yet peaceful region that has turned into fertile ground for a power struggle between world powers. The victims are the Kashmirs people themselves, but unfortunately for them, violence may continue to plague them for a long time, or at least until India and Pakistan are able to come to a political and military truce.