On August 3, 2019, Indian authorities and Kashmir’s government ordered thousands of tourists and Hindu pilgrims to leave Indian-administered Kashmir, warning of a “terror threat” against Hindu pilgrims heading to the Amarnath shrine. Officials claim that armed militants backed by Pakistan were planning an attack on the annual pilgrimage. While the Indian government has deployed an extra 10,000 troops, over 20,000 pilgrims and more than 200,000 laborers have been scrambling to leave the area. Although India and Pakistan claim all of Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi and Islamabad only control portions of the territory.
Kashmir has been a contended territory since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. The present insurgency in Kashmir began in 1989, and continues today, with death toll estimates well over 40,000. Several Pakistan-based extremist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Harakat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), and Hizb-il-Mujahideen (HM), conduct attacks on Indian targets in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which makes up 45 percent of the overall Kashmir region.
On August 5, 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution, which granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. Withdrawing Kashmir’s autonomy gave Modi’s federal government complete control over Kashmir’s security forces. The day after this action, Pakistan’s parliament and Islamabad’s top military leadership discussed India’s decision. Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, announced that the military will “go to any extent” to support the Kashmiris, and Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed that suicide bombings will likely become more common in Indian-administered Kashmir.
The region’s security remains tenuous at best as potential threats from extremist groups and the actions by both governments continue to reshape the situation on the ground.
To read the CEP report, India: Extremism & Counter-Extremism, please click here.
To read the CEP report, Pakistan: Extremism & Counter-Extremism, please click here.