India 2008: Conflict

“Throughout the winter of 1990 millions took to the roads in Kashmir, protesting the Indian government and chanting slogans for freedom. I did nothing else. It really seemed like—we were so naïve—it would happen tomorrow. There were images at the time of the Berlin Wall falling. But the crackdown was brutal, and there were all these military camps and torture centers. Thirty to forty people were shot every day. Teenage boys left home and crossed the border to get guns. That’s how the deadly conflict started. Now the levels of violence have come down. The desire for an independent Kashmir remains, but people are tired. The dominant element is resignation.”

Basharat Peer’s memoir about the Kashmir conflict, Curfewed Night, will be published next year.