Swiss group warns of more Kashmir violence
23 August 2007
The Daily Times
Islamabad: A prominent Swiss think-tank has warned of more violence in Jammu and Kashmir if the issue is not resolve immediately. The warning has come in a report called Trends in Kashmir Conflict prepared by the Bern-based Swisspeace after assessing the situation in the state between June and July 2007, the Kashmir Media Service reported. The slow pace of the peace process between India and Pakistan and the continued high presence of Indian forces in Kashmir might incite fresh violence, the report cautioned. Putting the onus on India, the think tank, in its report released on Wednesday, stated that further progress on a Kashmir resolution largely depended on India. The report said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir had not changed significantly. Although India and Pakistan have reiterated their resolve to deal with outstanding issues, including Kashmir, no major breakthroughs were reported, it noted. It pointed out that India had shown little flexibility in making further concessions to Pakistan or Kashmiris over the issue. The slow progress in the Kashmir peace process, the report said, had cast a shadow of doubt among Kashmiris over the process. Indias promise to initiate talks with Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders had yet to be fulfilled, it said. According to the report, incidents of human rights abuses (extra judicial killings, torture, rape, arbitrary arrests, etc) by Indian troops and police increased in June and July with at least six reported cases of attempted rape by Indian troops. Such abuses were often followed by popular protests and strikes, which sometimes entailed violent crackdowns by police. Although Indian officials routinely promise to investigate incidents of abuse by its troops, the findings are seldom made public, which further alienates Kashmiris, who perceive the Indian army as an occupational force, the report said.