As armed insurgency in India’s northern Jammu and Kashmir ebbs, the elected state government is keen to hasten a return to normalcy by easing draconian security laws and reopening movie theatres and liquor shops, banned by fundamentalist militant groups.
Sammad Sheikh of Tangchekh village in north Kashmir cannot understand why the rice fields that his family cultivated for generations are drying up.
Touseef Bhat’s seven-acre farm in this scenic alpine valley of Bandipora district has an incongruous feature – an electrified barbed wire fence running through it.
"If one were to search for a positive outcome to the ongoing armed conflict in Jammu and Kashmir state, it would be the growth of journalism," says Prof. Shams Imran at the department of journalism, Central University of Kashmir.
As the blistering summer heat gives way to the first undertones of winter’s chill, the political landscape in the highly contested north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir also appears to be changing colour.
A ruling by the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) at The Hague, staying construction of a dam across a river that flows into Pakistan, has brought cheer to the tribal people who live around the site.
Rights activists say that thousands of unmarked graves newly uncovered along the Line of Control (LoC) in Indian Kashmir may hold the bodies of ‘disappeared’ people rather than those of militants killed while trying to cross the fortified de facto border between India and Pakistan.
Saraswoti Bhetwal’s terraced fields stand out in the sub-Himalayan Lamdihi village as a mosaic of shapes and colours formed by beans, bitter gourd, chilly, tomato, lady’s fingers and other crops.
Years of poor policies and neglect are taking a toll on Kashmir’s unmatched ecological assets, that also happen to be international tourist attractions.
While the conflict in Indian Kashmir and the destruction it has caused often makes the news, its impact on culture has hardly gotten any attention.
Fracha Begam has been unable to come to terms with the deaths of her two teenage daughters, killed by unknown gunmen in the latest incident of violence against women in the Kashmir Valley.
Several species of fish unique only to the waters of Kashmir are in danger of extinction due to high levels of pollution, environmentalists say.
During the summer of 2010 Kashmir saw one of the worst face-offs between pro-freedom Kashmiri youth and law enforcement agencies. Smugglers used the unrest surrounding these outbreaks to conceal their steady ramping up of the black market timber trade, at times with complicity of authorities.
All Shabnam Khan wants is a one-day break in the ongoing strike, so that her daughter can try her luck and get admission in a topnotch school here in the capital of Indian- administered Kashmir.
When dark clouds waft above, hearts pound in fear and nightmarish thoughts strike the minds of the inhabitants of this desert town, which lies more than 3,048 metres above sea level in the northern Indian province of Ladakh.
Rasik Rasheed’s (not his real name) hefty Internet bills hardly bother his family. Cooped up at home due to curfews and strikes here for nearly three months now, youngsters like him have been busy not just with their studies but with waging what they call the Kashmir struggle on the Internet.
The doctors at the hospital that Khalida Begum’s husband brought her to in the frontier district of Kupwara knew she was in a dangerous state. They thus recommended that she be transferred soonest to the maternity hospital here in Srinagar, where she was sure to receive far better care.
Abdul Rehman stopped in his tracks when he did not see his usual newspapers strewn out on his lawn one morning this month. But little did he know that he would not see newspapers, whether out on the newsstands or delivered to subscribers like him, for three more days.
Now that the armed conflict between Indian security forces and Kashmiri militants has eased considerably, youngsters are coming out to fight a new threat – environmental degradation – that looms over this beautiful valley often termed ‘paradise on earth’.
With threats looming large on the survival of several wildlife species in the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir in northern India, experts warn that these species could go extinct in the coming years unless immediate steps are taken to prevent their extinction.
The human rights body Amnesty International (AI) has yet to release its report on the outcome of its unprecedented visit last week to the disputed Indian- administered Kashmir state, but already there are doubts over its ability to come up with fair and accurate findings.