For 22 years this contested region has endured a regime of torture and disappeared civilians. Now a local laywer is discovering their unmarked graves and challenging India's abuses. For a detailed analysis of mass graves in Kashmir, see article Mass graves in Kashmir
Kashmiri women mouring the loss of their family members in violence
Kashmir is bleeding, as we speak. The annual casualty rate is chillingly high.
At least 40,000 people have been killed since insurgency began in 1989, according to conservative official estimates.
Unofficial estimates are well over 80,000-half of them are civilians. Thousands of Indian soldiers have been
killed and it costs billions of dollars to keep the army in Kashmir.
There is one soldier for every 10 kashmiris in the Valley and daily life is a
nightmare for the ordinary Kashmiri.
The Kashmir conflict continues to be unresolved after more than six decades,
fuelling the conventional and nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan
and bleeding their economy. Both countries have gone to war on three
occasions over Kashmir and the possibility of war between the two
countries has become frightening given their nuclear weapon capability.
Kashmir continues to be the bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Each side insists it is right and the other is wrong. India insists that the
accession of Kashmir to India is final and complete and hence Kashmir is an integral part of India and that all would be well in Kashmir, but for Pakistan's cross-border terrorism. Pakistan on the other hand, insists that Kashmir is a disputed territory and that it is merely providing moral and diplomatic support for an indigenous freedom struggle in Kashmir. A large number of Kashmiris do not believe that the 1947 accession is final; they insist that Kashmir is a disputed territory and demand self-determination. Indian public is bombarded with the official version of rhetoric on Kashmir, as Pakistanis are bombarded likewise with their version.
Could we objectively revisit this complex issue which continues to exact increasing death toll of
civilians, as each day passes? All sides cannot be right at once in their claims of absolute moral rectitude, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.
"I cannot drink water
It is mingled with the blood of young men who have died up in the mountains.
I cannot look at the sky; It is no longer blue; but painted red.
I cannot listen to the roar of the gushing stream
It reminds me of a wailing mother next to the bullet-ridden body of her only son.
I cannot listen to the thunder of the clouds It reminds me of a bomb blast.
I feel the green of my garden has faded Perhaps it too mourns.
I feel the sparrow and cuckoo are silent Perhaps they too are sad."
A Kashmiri Poet
 Photo Courtesy: BBC. The design of some panels have been modelled after BBC News website.
Some maps in other chapters have been courtesy of Wikipedia, Kashmir Study Group and other websites.