By Our Correspondent NEW DELHI: There has been a widespread prolonged and well-armed unrest in Kashmir, the only Muslim majority state in India and because of political and economic factors, there is increasing support for the militants.

As many as 30 to 40 people have died in the violence since July last year and hundreds protesters and some policemen have been injured.

Predictably India seeks to look for the “foreign hand” rather than evaluate the internal problems of the state: a Chief Minister who is considered as an immature puppet of the federal government, very poor economic performance unequal distribution of wealth with the poorest amongst the poor invariably being Muslims and so on.

The “foreign hand” is Pakistan which has a long standing dispute with India on Kashmir and refers to the state as “occupied Kashmir.

 Jammu & Kashmir CM Farooq Abdullah said at a recent press conference that “hundreds” of guerrillas who call themselves Mujhedeen, have been trained in Pakistan or in the Pakistani part of the Kashmir. They have been infiltrated into the Kashmir valley he added.

Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi however said, “Pakistan has no desire whatsoever to meddle with the domestic affairs of any country.”

Government offices have been the prime targets of attacks which are carried out with automatic weapons including the AK47’s grenades, plastic explosives and sophisticated pencil detonators.

Police concedes that these weapons are available in the open arms market,

The government has been adopting increasingly harsh measures to curb the protesters and has been using harsh and draconian preventive detention laws and hundreds of young men in the age group of 23 to 32, according to Muslim religion leaders. Moulvi Mohammed Farooq the mirwazi (chief religious leader) charged at a nawaz recently that state terrorism is further alienating the people. Human rights of the people have been violated, he stated.

Political analyst say that Indian government is very worried about loosing its two states bordering Pakistan Punjab and Kashmir if such a militancy escalates into insurgency.

A call by United Nations for a plebiscite in Kashmir has always been rejected by India.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 12, 1989