After the 1947-48 invasion of Kashmir by the Pakistan-backed jihadists and the ensuing military action by India, and the consequent take over of parts of Kashmir by Pakistan and India respectively, there seems to have followed a period of relative calm in the Indian-held Kashmir, which lasted for over four dacades. Am I right?

Or, have there also been periods of protests and separatist struggle in the Indian-held Kashmir during the period from 1948 to 1988, just like those that the state has witnessed since 1989?

However, in 1989, unrest began in Kashmir and the resulting military operations by the Indian government to quell the trouble, a cycle which has by and large persisted in the state ever since, with a varying degree of intensity. Is it not the case?

Now my question is, why is it that the Kashmiris (and their Pakistani backers) started their protests and separatist struggle after having remained passive for such a long time?

To buy the version of the Government of India, if it is Pakistan's mischief, then why is it that Pakistan has waited so long for making this kind of "mischief"?

What prompted this change in the approach of the Kashmiri militants / separatists and what prompted this change of their Pakistani supporters?

Or, is it some action(s) and / or shift in the policies of the Indian government post mid-to-late 1980s that led things to come to such a pass toward the end of that dacade?

  • 1
    Are you looking for a general explanation, e.g. Wikipedia or something more? The literature on the history of the Kashmir insurgency is reasonably extensive. Finally, the premise of your question probably need further review (re-consideration). Finally, hope this helps.
    – J Asia
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


The 1987 polls in Kashmir were rigged. This led to popular protests. Rajiv Gandhi's advisers thought they could shift the blame onto Pakistan which actually wanted to kill off the indigenous leaders so their own people could take control.

Kashmir could be volatile on its own but land reform, under Sheikh Abdullah, had defused the main cause of tension early on. However, the aspirations of a better educated, aspirational, youth were not being fulfilled.

Sadly, New Delhi had a paranoid obsession with Iran and Pakistan as meddling in Kashmir and made repeated blunders which showed total disdain of the Kashmiri. Even the Urdu press, in North India, would write in derogatory way of the Kashmiris- implying they were not a martial people and that they were child-like and easily duped. No doubt, the military training provided across the border was an incentive. Still, the fact is, New Delhi, more especially under Rajiv Gandhi, created this problem. Indeed, they perpetuate it still.


What happened in 1989 that triggered the public unrest that still continues to this day?

1984 - Indian Army occupied un-demarcated Pakistani portion of Siachen Glacier1.

1989 - The end of Soviet-Afghan war when Mujahideens returned from Afghanistan who were previously fighting against Soviets. Gen. Zia ul Haque wanted to use the experience and expertise that he gathered during Soviet-Afghan war against India2.

  • 1
    Where and how does that Wikipedia link say there was no calm?
    – Semaphore
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 12:29

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