Altaf Qadri on the Deadly Standoff in Kashmir

This photographic essay on the bloody conflict in Kashmir is from European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) photographer Altaf Qadri: For decades, neither Pakistan nor India wanted a solution to the Kashmir standoff because the existence of an external enemy enabled both sides, when it suited them, to divert attention from domestic problems. How could you demand food, work, security or freedoms when the nation is under threat? That argument wins every time. While politicians were winning, Kashmiris were paying a terrible price in pain and are torn apart, physically, emotionally, legally and financially. A fertile valley which once was called "Paradise on Earth" becomes a dangerous place to live, its harvest merely razor wire and mines. Indian authorities argue that abuses by their forces are rare and those responsible are punished. But in fact official investigations are infrequent, punishments, if any, are light, and the practices continue. While some abuses, particularly indiscriminate shootings of civilians and reprisal killings, were worse in the early years of the insurgency, summary executions of persons taken into custody have never abated and have even increased during periodic counterinsurgency operations. The Kashmir conflict has claimed more than 60,000 lives, according to Indian officials. Separatists and Pakistan put the death toll at between 80,000 and 100,000.

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Technorati Tags: abuse, altaf qadri, daily life, death, girl, guard, gun, india, kashmir, massacre, pakistan, war, woman

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