Beef ban, violence reignites tensions in Jammu, Kashmir

Friday attack in Jammu on Kashmir-bound truck leads to fresh tensions, prompting limited clashes in disputed region

Beef ban, violence reignites tensions in Jammu, Kashmir

World Bulletin / News Desk

The disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir again appears on the verge of sectarian conflict following a controversy over a proposed ban on beef sales and a recent attack in Jammu on a Kashmir-bound truck.

On Friday night, a Kashmir-bound truck was set ablaze in Udhampur in Jammu, injuring two Muslim drivers and a policeman.

The attack has since led to clashes, prompting fears of renewed friction in the Muslim-majority Kashmir region and in Hindu-majority parts of Jammu.

Srinagar-based political commentator Noor Ahmad Baba described the current situation as “very dangerous”.

“It’s part of the larger problem going on in India, which is now impacting Jammu and Kashmir as well,” he told Anadolu Agency.

“The incident in Udhampur threatens to further polarize the situation in the state and lead to a sense of insecurity among the Muslims in Hindu-dominated Jammu,” Baba added.

The people of Kashmir Valley fear a repeat of events seen in 2008, when Kashmiri truck drivers and Muslims in Jammu were attacked after land in Kashmir was handed over to the organizers of a Hindu pilgrimage.

Hindus in Jammu had then imposed an economic blockade on Kashmir, resulting in massive protests in the latter region.

Burhan Ahmad, a post-graduate student at the University of Kashmir, believes rising tensions in Kashmir bode ill for the state’s future.

“Both ruling parties have different ideologies and the divide we are seeing now is the outcome of that,” he told Anadolu Agency.

“They should end the current coalition as soon as possible, which isn’t good for the state’s development,” he added.

Pro-democracy leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, meanwhile, has called for a general strike in the region on Monday to protest the recent incident in Udhampur. 

The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Forum, for its part, an amalgam of various trade bodies in the region, has supported the call for a general strike.

In response to the calls for a strike, local educational institutes were closed Monday, while public transportation was grounded for the most part.

In Srinagar, meanwhile, Indian police detained workers associated with the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front after they tried to hold a protest rally against right-wing Hindu parties.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is occupied by India and Pakistan in part and claimed by both countries in full.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- since the former was partitioned in 1947. Two of the three conflicts were fought over Kashmir, a small part of which is occupied by China.

Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in Indian-occupied Kashmir -- who demand independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan -- have continued to fight against Indian rule.

More than 70,000 Kashmiris have been killed in the violence to date, most of them by Indian forces.

India currently has more than a half million troops deployed in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Ekim 2015, 17:41