Beyond Identity Fetishism: “Communal” Conflict in Ladakh and the Limits of Autonomy

Excerpt From Essay

"For more than a decade, the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir has been the scene of large-scale violence. A plethora of groups combats the army and the paramilitary forces sent to quell the struggle for secession from India. Almost simultaneously with the eruption of armed struggle in the Kashmir Valley, a movement emerged in 1989 to "free Ladakh from Kashmir." The movement, launched by an organization identifying itself initially as the Ladakh People's Movement for Union Territory, demanded protection from alleged discriminatory policies by the Kashmir government that had been endured for decades. Union Territory status would bring the region under direct administration from New Delhi. In contrast to the continuing conflict in the valley, the agitation in Ladakh was characterized by relatively little violence, and although the demand for secession from Kashmir was rejected, the region was granted a measure of autonomy in May 1995 through the creation of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh."

"Beyond Identity Fetishism: “Communal” Conflict in Ladakh and the Limits of Autonomy," Martijn van Beek (529).

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