Kashmir residents says that: Two wars between India and Pakistan which were sparked by the disputed region as well as dozens of other armed conflicts.
“We want the bunkers so that we have a place to hide during intense shelling. We don’t have anywhere to go and no means to protect ourselves. This is injustice,”one resident says. India’s main political parties, are ignoring the area’s real problem unemployment and instead are just using the Kashmir issue for political gain, especially in the run-up to a nationwide election which got underway earlier this week. “This is an everyday reality for us. I grew up seeing this, and I’ll die seeing this. The situation will be the same for generations to come. Nothing will change. I don’t worry about it anymore. I will die the day and the way Allah wishes,”India and Pakistan each control part of mainly Muslim Kashmir but each claim the region in its entirety. A revolt since 1989 in the Indian section, by groups seeking independence or union with Pakistan, has claimed thousands of lives.
The impact of the conflict isn’t confined to the border area — it reverberates across Kashmir including Srinagar, the main city in the Indian-controlled section.
“Living here is expensive. Dying here is extremely cheap,”one resident says.
Last year was the bloodiest in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in a decade: 238 militants died while 86 police or troops and 37 civilians lost their lives. 2017 was hardly less deadly. Tourists used to start flocking to the region in early spring. Not anymore. The houseboats on the idyllic Dal Lake — one of the most popular destinations in Srinagar — sit empty and dozens of boatmen on the shores wait desperately for customers. Hotel taxi driver Mohammad Shafi complains that he didn’t have a single customer for a couple of weeks in early March, when India and Pakistan were on the brink of war.”The tulip gardens of Srinagar are expected to be in full bloom in a few weeks…Inshallah (God willing), the tourists will start coming again soon,” he says hopefully.