This crisis is not just about the continuing dispute over the status of Kashmir. It is more to do with the way in which the separatist struggle has changed over the past eight years and Pakistan’s growing involvement across the Line of Control – the line dividing Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir.
The current chapter in Kashmir’s history began in the mid-1980s, when the separatist movement became more militant in response to the example set in other parts of India, notably the Punjab. It was also due to Indira Gandhi’s propensity to meddle in state affairs for her own Congress Party’s political gain. These resulted in a suspension of democracy and an overall downturn in the economic and political fortunes of the state. The activities of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front prompted an unduly tough response from the Indian security forces, involving the eventual deployment of some 400,000 troops in Kashmir and the frequent abuse of human rights and civil liberties.