The Refugee Crisis





The movement of Kashmiri refugees started in 1947 when the conflict began. With the continual violence in Jammu and Punjab after partition, millions of Muslim Kashmiris crossed into Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. Similarly Hindu Kashmiris moved out of Azad Kashmir and settled in Occupied Kasmir or India. However, the stream of refugees flowing into Azad Kashmir and Pakistan has never stopped. Due to the opressive rule of Indian regimes in Indian-Occupied Kashmir pro-Freedom Kashmiris found it difficult and were chased out. The bulk of the refugees arrived in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan after the three wars which were fought over the Kashmir dispute; firstly in 1947/48 followed by an another conflict in 1965. In 1971 war broke out again between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and Bangladesh. After each of these wars countless Kashmiris were made refugees.

The current insurgency has a produced a refugee crisis. Thousands of Muslims have been made homeless and forced to flee to Azad Kashmir or Pakistan. Government of Azad Kashmir , through its Rehabilitation Ministery, accomodates those refugees who choose to take advantage of state facilities. Some, however, do not register and try to start a fresh life by finding their own accomodation and employment. The Kashmiri Pandits have also become victims of this crisis. Some of the Pandits left Kashmir in the early days of the current insuregency for the fear of violence from pro-Freedom militia. Later, the Indian government managed to get the majority of Pandits out of the Kashmir Valley. This they did for two reasons; first to clear the way for steeping up of military operations against the pro-freedom militia and secondly to propogate a communal colour to the conflict. Today, the Indian propogandists are busy telling the world that the Kashmir confict is a religious war iniated by Muslim fundamentalists and they show the Pandit refugees as the evidence. Of course many Pandits are not happy with this state of affairs and do try to speak out, but their voices are usually silenced.

A refugee woman

This brief section attempts to detail the Refugee Camps in Azad Kashmir and stories from some of the victims.

Next - Camps

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