Essay # 4-5: Kashmir Conflicts

Geo 352

Winter ‘04

The Maoist conflict revolt and Kashmir conflicts seem to be familiar to many conflicts that have happened in the past. Conflicts over land have been going on for as long as anyone can remember. Disputing how to use the land, who can live on the land, and who rules the land first seems to be the main themes in these conflicts. Both of the conflicts seem to have developed when foreign influences use their power to appoint government officials to ensure that those foreign countries can manipulate how they want the country to be run. However, while appointing officials to run a country and not understanding that everyone in the country is the same leads up to discrimination and oppression of the minority group in the area. That ultimately leads up to rebellion.

Many things led up to conflict in both Nepal and Kashmir. The political and economic discrimination was based on class, caste, religion and ethnicity. Many dilemmas between the people were met with violence and this caused much bitterness. Much of the conflict can be rooted in the standards of living. When people lose their way to earn a living, as in Nepal, where one of their main incomes was from harvesting hemp for its many purposes, people become angry and distrusting of the government. In 1976, the Government of Nepal outlawed the trafficking of hashish which led to many arrest. This led to police corruption which made the hashish trade less profitable. The prohibition of hashish has made life harder on the people in the red zone and in their perception it has basically taken their livelihoods. The government gave no explanation of the ban on Hashish and that also, led to much discontent of the people towards the government. However, today hashish is a less important source of income and its demand has lessened.

Distrust of the government has big role in the conflicts in both Nepal and Kashmir. Both places have long histories of distrust between the people in the region.

“Since the 14th century relations between Kashmir Muslims and Kashmir Hindus are ambiguous and controversial.”(A. Rao). For almost 200 years, between the 18th and 20th century, Kashmir was ruled by many bigoted rulers. Everyone was persecuted at one point under different rulers. Many mosques were destroyed by the Sikhs. The Afghans persecuted the Shias and Hindus.

The conflicts can be looked at on the many different ways. The political aspect of the conflicts is the fight over who has the political power over the region and who should participate in the government process. The government in Nepal wants to keep the laws it already has and the rebels want to make the area into a republic modeling the communist. Economically, the rebels claim they are representing to interest of the people and believe that the government is not meeting the basic needs of those people who are being excluded from the political process and economic benefits. The unequal distribution of resources in Nepal is one of the main causes of the conflict. In Kashmir, it seems almost the same things were happening. “All organized political opposition was muffled, local opposition parties were banned or prevented from electoral participation.” (A. Rao).

Violence seems to be the most used way of dealing with any uprisings or rebellions. Many assassinations and bombs went off and behind it was the preaching of secession from India in mosques. In Kashmir, thousands of people got weapons from Pakistan. However, in Nepal, the rebels’ violence was very selective and they used local weapons. Who is really to blame though? Both sides in both conflicts have done horrific things to each other. The Kashmir Muslims have boomed and murdered Hindus. Muslims get robbed, arrested, tortured, raped and killed by Indian forces. In Nepal, government police outposts have been attacked by Maoists thousands of times killing many people. The Nepali government has killed protestors. Violence overall only caused hatred between the people involved in the conflict. The differences in their cultures don’t help their conflict at all. The limited and unequal distribution of resources and political power causes great tension between the groups involved in the conflicts. In both Nepal and Kashmir