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Violence In Kashmir
It has been the same story all over again as poll related violence in strife torn Kashmir marred the overall peacfully conducted polls all over India.
Shops and business establishments were shut in Srinagar as separatist groups called for a boycott of national pollsand many were injured when separatists attacked several heavily fortified voting stations across Anantnag.
Hizbul Mujahideen, which is fighting for Muslimmajority Kashmir's merger with Muslim Pakistan, is one of the biggest guerrilla groups in the troubled region. Abdul Rashid, the commander of the rebel group was shot dead in a shootout recently. He was the group's third military chief to be gunned down since October. The group called for a general strike in Srinagar today to protest the killing and also named Ghazi Misbahuddin as the new chief commander in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Tens of thousands of Indian soldiers are in Kashmir to put down a 15year revolt that has killed more than 40,000 people
The conflict in Kashmir, which erupted into near civil war in 1990, emerged out of a fifty-year political struggle for control of the territory. Both India and Pakistan claim control of Kashmir; the unresolved status of Kashmir continues to be the most serious impediment to ending tensions between the two. Although Kashmir has a majority Muslim population, three major religions have flourished there: Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. However, since the early 1950s, India's attempts to control the state fueled resentment among the state's Muslim political leaders, and ultimately led to the emergence of Muslim militant groups committed to fighting for independence. Such groups found ready support and arms in Pakistan.
By 1990, popular resentment toward India's policies in the state had grown into a mass movement for independence. The militant groups which have been fighting for independence from India are divided between those who believe the territory should become part of Pakistan and those who believe that Kashmir should become an independent state. Some of the groups openly espouse an Islamist ideology; others advocate a secular Kashmiri state that would include Kashmiri Buddhists, Hindus and others. The Indian government holds Pakistan entirely responsible for the escalation in fighting that has taken place since 1989 and has blamed Pakistan for "exporting" Islamic fundamentalism to the state.
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