By portraying the Kashmiris' fight for independence as 'a movement based on sectarianism . . . and communal hatred', Mr Bains distorts the nature of the conflict in this predominantly (80 per cent) Muslim state and ignores the two factors which aggravate it the most, namely, the treatment of Kashmiris and of Indian Muslims.
Asia Watch (February 1993) has reported that 'virtually everyone taken into custody in Kashmir is tortured'. Amnesty International (March 1993) has reported that 'men, women and even children are beaten senseless and have their limbs crushed by heavy rollers' and that 'sexual torture, including rape, is common'. Civilian massacres committed by the Indian troops are also common and rarely is any action is taken by the Indian government.
As for the Indian Muslims, the only major study on their social status (Time magazine, 15 February 1993) shows that 'their plight is worse than that of the Hindu untouchables'. The Indian police's killing of 2,000 angry Muslims following the destruction of the Babri Mosque, and the Bombay pogrom (600 Muslims killed), are testimony to the bleak future awaiting India's Muslims.
Kashmiris have no altenative but to seek independence, and it is the international community's responsibility to pressure both India and Pakistan to grant them their right of self-determination.