DATE=9/8/1999 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=KASHMIR SITUATION NUMBER=5-44212 BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Anger, frustration and violence are escalating in India's Jammu and Kashmir state. Demonstrators opposed to Indian elections and Indian rule make almost daily appearances in the narrow streets of Kashmir's ancient capital, Srinigar. But as Jim Teeple reports, a more desperate struggle is underway elsewhere in the Kashmir valley. // Act of crowd chanting.establish and fade under text // TEXT: Almost every day, Islamic militants launch attacks against Indian security forces. The government soldiers have been trying to end the insurgency for ten years, but they've not yet succeeded. At least 25-thousand people have died in the clashes. Just a few weeks ago, it looked as if tensions in Kashmir might ease. That's when Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, though not admitting any wrongdoing, agreed to work to withdraw the infiltrators who had crossed into Indian Kashmir from Pakistan to occupy strategic mountain peaks. But since that fighting ended, Islamic militants have stepped up attacks all across the Kashmir valley. Gurbachan Jagat, Director General of the police in India's Jammu and Kashmir State, says the current violence in the valley is linked to this past summer's fighting in the northern mountains. // JAGAT ACTUALITY // When the security forces were busy in Kargil (northern Kashmir) and a large number of units were shifted out of the valley to deal with the Kargil situation, at that time Pakistan sent a large number of infiltrators. Seventy to seventy-five percent of these are foreign mercenaries with a good component of ex-servicemen. By foreign mercenaries I mean most of them are Pakistani's and a few Afghans. These are people who managed to infiltrate when the security forces were in Kargil and there was a slight break in the security grid in the valley. // END ACTUALITY // Gurbachan Jagat insists that despite the recent upsurge in fighting, police and security forces have the situation under control. He predicts that most of the Islamic militants will retreat into Pakistan once winter comes. However the recent fighting in the valley is different from the battles waged before the Kargil conflict. Islamic militants are staging assaults on well-guarded security installations. The assaults are mostly futile and the militants have suffered heavy casualties. But they have managed to surprise the Indian security forces who believed the insurgency was largely over. Omar Farooq is the Mirwaiz, or hereditary leader of nearly all of Kashmir's majority-Muslim population. He also heads his own political party which is part of the All People's Huriayat, a group of 32 pro-independence political parties. Omar Farooq says the upsurge in militancy is a sign that India has failed to win the hearts and minds of Kashmiri's. // FAROOQ ACTUALITY // Since the last year or so we are seeing increased attacks on Indian Army personnel. And they are fighting like real fighters. And I think that's a clear message to the Indians that maybe they have 400-thousand troops present in the valley but Kashmir is a very difficult terrain and it's not possible for them to maintain the borders or the cease-fire line. So I think they have to come to terms with Pakistan of course, and also the people of Kashmir. I don't think India can go on blaming Pakistan for what's happening in Kashmir. Yes, Pakistan is factor but the most important factor is the Kashmiri community. //END ACTUALITY // When relations between India and Pakistan began to thaw earlier this year, many in the Kashmiri community were more optimistic about their future than they had been in a long time. They had reason to hope that ten years of fighting had come to an end. But now, after weeks of near-war between India and Pakistan, and an upsurge in daily fighting between Indian security forces and Islamic militants, few optimists are left in Kashmir. (Signed) NEB/JLT/LTD/BK 08-Sep-1999 11:35 AM EDT (08-Sep-1999 1535 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .