Freedom in the World
Indian Kashmir *
Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Indian Kashmir’s civil liberties rating declined from 4 to 5 due to a surge in state violence against protesters opposed to Indian rule, including the enforcement of onerous curfews and use of live ammunition that caused over 100 civilian deaths in a three-month period.
After a relative lull in violence in 2009, security forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir clashed repeatedly in 2010 with protesters opposed to increased militarization in the region. Separatist opposition parties began the Quit Kashmir protest movement in June after a 17-year-old boy was killed by police, leading to onerous curfews and regular confrontations between armed security personnel and stone-throwing youths. More than 100 civilians had been killed before the violence began to ebb in late September. Although the central government took some conciliatory steps, unrest continued intermittently through year’s end.
When British India was partitioned into India and Pakistan in 1947, the Hindu maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir tried to maintain his principality’s independence, but he eventually ceded it to India in return for autonomy and future self-determination. Within months, India and Pakistan went to war over the territory. As part of a UN-brokered ceasefire in 1949 that established the present boundaries, Pakistan gained control of roughly one-third of Jammu and Kashmir, leaving India with the remainder. The territory received substantial autonomy under Article 370 of India’s constitution and a 1952 accord, but India annulled such guarantees in 1957 and formally annexed the portion of Jammu and Kashmir under its control. Since then, it has largely been governed like other Indian states, with an elected legislature and chief minister. Under the 1972 Simla accord, New Delhi and Islamabad agreed to respect the Line of Control (LOC) dividing the region and to resolve Kashmir’s status through negotiation.
Jammu and Kashmir, like India’s other states, is governed by an elected bicameral legislature and a chief minister entrusted with executive power. An appointed governor serves as titular head of state. Members of the 87-seat lower house, or state assembly, are directly elected, while the 46-seatupper house has a combination of members elected by the state assembly and nominated by the governor.