While Americans were obsessing over a third-rate actor’s fake claims of a racial assault, old foes India and Pakistan were rattling their nuclear weapons in a very dangerous crisis over Kashmir. But hardly anyone noticed that nuclear war could break out in South Asia.
India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed, have fought four wars over divided Kashmir since 1947, the lovely mountain state of forests and lakes whose population is predominantly Muslim. India controls two thirds of Kashmir; Pakistan and China the rest. This bitter dispute, one of the world’s oldest confrontations, has defied all attempts to resolve it.
The United Nations called on India to hold a plebiscite to determine Kashmir’s future, but Delhi ignored this demand, knowing it would probably lose the vote.
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Muslim Kashmiris have been in armed revolt against harsh Indian occupation since the 1980’s. Some 70,000 civilians, mostly Muslims, have died to date. Today, India stations a million soldiers and paramilitary forces in Kashmir to repress popular demands by Muslim Kashmiris for either union with neighboring Pakistan or an independent Kashmiri state.
India’s human rights groups accuse Delhi of grave human rights violations, including torture, murder, rape and collective punishment. Delhi says it is protecting Kashmir’s Hindus and Sikhs from Muslim reprisals, and blames the uprising on what it calls ‘cross border terrorism’ initiated by old enemy, Pakistan.
Last week, a Kashmiri ‘mujahidin’ rammed his explosive-laden car into a bus filled with paramilitary Indian troops at Pulwama, killing over 40 and provoking outrage across…