• Crisis Severity ?
     
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
     
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
     
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    2.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    2.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 12,541,000 People exposed [?]
  • 1,081 Civilian deaths (Civil society estimation 2008-2018) [?]

Overview

29/11/2019

In the disputed region of Kashmir, conflict has intensified in 2019 along the Line of Control dividing India administered Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir) and Pakistan administered Kashmir (Azad Kashmir). The desire for autonomy in regions of Kashmir has led to uprisings and independence movements. 

On 05 August 2019, the Indian government issued a presidential decree revoking Article 370, which gave Jammu and Kashmir its special autonomous status, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly seven decades.?The decree was issued hours after imposing a major security clampdown in the disputed region, including the deployment of 10,000 troops to the valley and the establishment of a complete communications blackout that lasted for more than 2 months. As of October 2019, India began re-establishing certain communications networks, such as landlines and mobile phone connections, though internet still remains restricted and insecurity caused by both military forces and militant groups continue to restrict movement and access to education facilities and markets.?

The now revoked special status gave a measure of autonomy to India administered Kashmir. Immediately following the decree, parts of India-administered Kashmir were placed under lockdown and local politicians reportedly arrested amid growing tensions.?

Both armed attacks and human rights violations have increased in recent years.? Rising tensions and protests amid the arrest of hundreds of people in Jammu and Kashmir and military action in Pakistan and India-administered Kashmir is disrupting civilian life and raising protection concerns for residents of Kashmir valley and Kashmiris across the country. Cross-border fire exchanges and shelling has killed civilians, although there is a lack of available data on the number of people affected. ?

Latest Developments

03/04/2020

There are no recent developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

For more information related to the COVID-19 outbreak in Kashmir, see content below.

Risk

Additional government citizenship initiatives fuel intercommunal violence, embolden militancy in Kashmir, and lead to government oppression of Muslim communities, increasing protection concerns, access restrictions, and displacement. Latest update: 25/03/2020

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

Risk Rationale

Recent moves by Prime Minister Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have strained relations and incited new dissent from India’s Muslim population. In August 2019, a presidential decree revoked the autonomy status of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state. A complete lockdown on communications and movement in the region followed. Simultaneously, the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) brought the citizenship status of 1.9 million people, mostly Muslims and minorities, into question, and efforts to establish a nationwide registry have been met with opposition. The situation was further aggravated by the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December, designed to provide a pathway to citizenship for those fleeing religious persecution from certain countries, but did not include Muslims.?

Anti-CAA demonstrations have fuelled violence between Hindu and Muslim communities. As of February 2020, nearly 80 people have died, including 53 in four consecutive days of violence in Delhi, which saw the torching of Muslim shops, homes, and mosques.?

In 2020, Supreme Court rulings eased the internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir and allowed protests to continue. However, legal challenges against the CAA and questions about the NRC remain unanswered. The Supreme Court, rather than rule on the amendment’s constitutionality, has given the government an opportunity to respond to challenges. Statements from BJP leaders have indicated that no decision has been made regarding a nationwide registry, though a push to convene a National Population Register in April 2020 has raised concerns that demographic data will be used to identify non-citizens.?

Any announcement of a nationwide citizenship registry or other moves perceived to alienate Muslims are likely to fuel intercommunal violence and embolden militancy in Kashmir, resulting in a strong response by the Indian government. This is particularly true if the Supreme Court is unwilling to address challenges to the CAA or Indian police do not ensure the safety of all Indian communities and protestors.

Risk Impact

Political unrest will disproportionately affect Muslims in Kashmir, Assam, and Uttar Pradesh, all of which have a history of deep ethnic tensions. Reports indicate that police have been slow to respond to, or even active participants in, violence in Muslim communities. Conflict trends suggest that 100,000 to 250,000 people could be significantly affected, either by displacement, access restrictions, or increased protection risks.?

An increase in intercommunal violence and militancy will likely result in a strong response from Indian forces. Previous human rights violations by the Indian government included mass detention, excessive use of force to suppress dissent, and amplified military presence. Civilian attacks targeting Muslims will likely increase, leading to casualties, property damage, and loss of livelihoods if shops are destroyed.?

Government response to violence will likely include restrictions on communications and/or movement. Kashmir has limited capacity to cope with further restrictions or conflict following the August 2019 lockdown, which strained public services and hindered access to healthcare, education, and livelihoods for 8 million people. Access to healthcare will be strained should road blockades impede access to hospitals. Threats from militants attempting to usurp control, as well as government-imposed restrictions, will likely result in school closures and fear of attending classes.?

Displacement is likely. Conflict forced 170,000 people in India from their homes in 2018, the majority in Kashmir, and ethnic conflict in Assam has previously displaced 150,000 people in a single episode of violence. Conflict displacement in India is often temporary; however, recent intercommunal violence torched homes, creating longer-term displacement.?

Read this risk

Natural Disasters

29/11/2019

India is one of the most-disaster prone countries in terms of number of disasters, people affected, and related mortality and economic damages.? Droughts, cyclones and floods often destroy or damage shelter, infrastructure and livelihoods and have a long-lasting impact on affected populations. In August 2018, heavy rainfall temporarily displaced over 1.4 million people in Kerala.? In October 2018 tropical cyclone Titli damaged some 29,000 houses in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha state.? At the same time, several states in peninsular and north-east India are currently experiencing a mild to severe drought due to a underperforming monsoon season in 2018.?

INFORM measures India’s risk of humanitarian crisis and risk to be relatively high at 5.5/10 and risk for hazard and exposure at 7/10.?

Key Priorities

29/11/2019

WASH: The main source of drinking water in rural India are tube-well and boreholes. Despite large-scale efforts to increase access to sanitation facilities, the practice of open defecation persists in rural India, increasing the health and protection risks, particularly for women.?

Health: India accounts for more than one quarter of the global Tuberculosis burden and more than one third of the world’s malnourished children can be found in the country. ?

Food: 190,000,000 people are food insecure. Natural disasters like flooding can have a long-term negative impact on agriculture and rural livelihoods.?

Information Gaps and Needs

29/11/2019

There is no crisis severity score for the Kashmir conflict due to the lack of available data.

Information regarding humanitarian needs in Kashmir are severely restricted, especially since the crackdown in August began. Access to the region is limited and communications networks are frequently disrupted or shut down. 

Assam NRC (Risk December 2019)

25/03/2020

The August 2019 publication of the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) brought into question the citizenship of 1.9 million people. Six months later, it has evolved into a slow-moving political battle and left Assam’s Muslim communities in citizenship limbo. Rejection certificates, originally meant to be issued around October 2019, have not been sent. Following claims that foreigners were included in the list while many Hindus were excluded, some BJP leaders called for the Assam NRC to be carried out again. Inconsistencies, including discrepancies in the list and the disappearance of data from the cloud service used to store it, has resulted in questions about accuracy and security. As of February 2020, internal checks have begun to determine if ineligible people, such as declared foreigners, have been incorrectly included. Authorities have announced plans to finish the filtering of names, notify the Registrar General of India of the final list, and send rejection certificates by mid-March, after which appeal cases to the foreigners’ tribunals will begin. The NRC process, along with other citizenship initiatives implemented by the Indian government, have sparked violence between Hindu and Muslim communities, which continues to threaten the security of Muslims in Assam and India. Additionally, questions around citizenship status still present a risk of human rights violations, lack of access to public services, and even statelessness. ?

Read more in the ACAPS End of Year Report 2019

COVID-19 Impact

03/04/2020

The internet slowdown in Jammu and Kashmir is affecting public health officials’ ability to adequately prepare for or treat cases of COVID-19 in the region. After more than six months without internet services, the Government of India restored Kashmir’s internet in early March, but only at 2G speeds. Doctors and public health authorities have reported disruptions in access to information regarding COVID-19 due to the slow internet connection. Downloading health documents, including research on the virus, recommendations for prevention and treatment, and watching international news broadcasts is not possible with 2G.

Access to education is also directly affected. Schools in Kashmir reopened in February following seven months of closure. However, the closure of schools in India due to the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in requirements for distance learning. Many elements of distance learning, such as streaming of lessons online or downloading curriculum documents are restricted by the internet slowdown.?

ACAPS' team is monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information related to the outbreak, see the ACAPS COVID-19 Project.