Militancy in Jammu and Kashmir has claimed a total of 41,000 lives in the past 27 years which means an average of 4 deaths per day in the state or 1519 casualties every year, according to the latest available government data.
The casualties include 14,000 civilians, 5,000 security personnel and 22,000 militants between 1990 and March 2017. In all, there have been 69,820 militancy-related incidents during the period; that’s like the state witnessing 2586 militancy incidents every year, for which India blames cross border militancy from Pakistan.
Addressing the UN general assembly on Saturday, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj called Pakistan a ”pre-eminent exporter of militancy”. Last week, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in his address had accused India of supporting militancy and human rights violations in Kashmir. Swaraj had hit back, saying while India was giving the world top-notch doctors and engineers Pakistan was producing militants.
Militancy in Kashmir has constantly derailed ties between India and Pakistan. HT looked at the latest available government data to anyalse the deaths and patterns of violence in Kashmir in the past 27 years.
Although not on the same scale as in the 1990s or early 2000s, militancy-related incidents have been increasing after 2014. From 2014 to March this year, there have been 795 militancy-related incidents in which 397 militants were killed while 64 civilians and 178 security personnel lost their lives. Compared to 222 incidents in 2014, there were 322 incidents in 2016. In 2014, 28 civilians and 47 security personnel and 110 militants were killed in these incidents. In 2016, these numbers were 15, 82 and 150.
Strategic affairs expert Commodore C Uday Bhaskar warns that a fertile ecosystem is now fueling militancy.
“The elimination of Burhan Wani has increased the sense of alienation among a section of Kashmiri youth. This has created a fertile ecosystem for the anti-India sentiment and ideology to gain strength. Concurrently the inability of the ruling alliance in Srinagar to provide a credible and empathetic political intervention is palpable,” Uday Bhaskar told HT.
As per the data, 2001 has been the most volatile year and saw the killing of highest number of militants and security forces. While 2020 militants were gunned down, 536 security personnel 996 civilians were also killed in the year that registered the highest number of 4522 militancy related incidents as well.
But in terms of civilian casualties, 2002 has been the worst with 1008 deaths. Besides 1707 militants, 453 security personnel were also killed that year.
Militancy had reached its peak during the previous BJP-led NDA government when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. From 1999 to 2003, 7820 militants, 2055 security personnel and 4519 civilians were killed in Jammu and Kashmir.
The National Conference was then in power in the state with Farooq Abdullah as the chief minister.
Post 1990, the second most tumultuous phase in the state was between 1993 and 1997 when 6522 militants were eliminated while 4910 civilians and 1012 security personnel lost their lives.
Militancy witnessed a steady decline from 2004 onwards till 2014 with a sharp decrease in the number of killings.
In 2013, there were only 170 militancy-related incidents in the strife-torn state in which 67 militants, 15 civilians and 53 security personnel were killed.
“The statistics are cause for deep concern and merit objective review and appropriate redress…. I am skeptical. When was the last time the legislature in Delhi or Srinagar had a meaningful discussion on Kashmir issue?” asked Bhaskar
From 2004 to 2014, the Congress-led UPA government was in power at the Centre while the Peoples’ Democratic Party-Congress alliance ruled Jammu and Kashmir from 2002 to 2008.
In 2008, the National Conference and the Congress formed a coalition government and chief minister Omar Abdullah remained at the helm till 2014.
This is the period which Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi mentioned during his interaction at the
University of California in Berkeley last week.
Gandhi said he worked behind the scenes with the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for nine years to normalise situation in Kashmir but the good work was undone by the BJP when it came to power in 2014.
From 2004, he along with Singh, P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh silently worked to ensure that peace returned to Jammu and Kashmir, the 47-year-old Congress leader said.
“When we started, terrorism was rampant in Kashmir. When we finished there was peace. By 2013, we had basically broken the back of militancy,” he told the students. The Manmohan Singh government served two consecutive terms before the BJP demolished the Congress in 2014.
In the 2014 assembly elections, the PDP emerged as the largest party with 28 seats, most of which were from the Muslim-majority Valley, while the BJP swept the Hindu-dominated Jammu region with 25 seats. The NC got 15, the Congress 12 and the others seven in the 87-member House. In March 2015, the PDP joined the hands with the BJP to form a coalition government in the state.