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Isnin, 3 Oktober 2011

SCENES FROM KASMIR


The India-Pakistan border appears as an orange line in this photograph taken by the Expedition 28 crew on the International Space Station on August 21, 2011. The fence between the two countries is floodlit for surveillance purposes. Srinagar (left), Islamabad (bottom center), Lahore (center near the border line) and Delhi (top center) can be seen as brighter spots.

Kashmir is a scenic land of tranquil beauty. A longstanding dispute over control of the region ensures that life for Kashmiris is anything but tranquil. Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir, and a fortified Line of Control separates forces. China also administers part of the region. Two wars have been fought between Pakistan and India since borders were drawn in 1947, and the predominately Muslim area chafes under Indian control. In August mass graves were disclosed that likely held the bodies of "disappeared" civilians killed during insurgencies years ago. The disclosure was one of a series of incidents which keeps the region tense. The political dispute and attendant violence disturbs what should otherwise be a culturally vibrant, lushly beautiful idyll. Collected here are images from the last several months in Kashmir, a region of roughly twelve and a half million people.

Kashmiri Muslims pray as the head priest, unseen, displays a holy relic believed to be a hair from the beard of the prophet Mohammed at the Hazratbal Shrine on the outskirts of Srinagar on July 1, 2011. Devotees thronged the shrine on the second day of the Muslim festival of Mehraj-u-Alam, which marks the ascension of the prophet to heaven.

International Lalit and local Drass polo players compete in a game of polo in Drass, Kashmir on July 9, 2011. T he tournament was organized to promote tourism in Jammu and Kashmir.

A relative of a disappeared Kashmiri youth looks at the photographs of missing people during a demonstration organized by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, a prominent local rights group, in Srinagar on July 10, 2011. Human rights workers have complained for years that innocent people have disappeared, been killed by government forces in staged gun battles, and suspected rebels arrested and never heard from again

Indian tourists enjoy a traditional Shikara boat ride on Dal Lake in Srinagar, India on July 7, 2011.

Indian soldiers returning from border posts are briefed at the Siachen base camp on the border with Pakistan on July 19. The nuclear-armed South Asian nations have competing territorial claims to Siachen, often dubbed the world's highest battlefield, and troops have been locked in a standoff there at an altitude of up to 20,000 feet since 1984, when Indian forces occupied the glacier.

Tourists park on a strip of land at the Pangong Lake, near the India-China border in Ladakh, India. Ladakh is a remote part of the former princely state of Kashmir. While Kashmir is best known for the Indo-Pakistani standoff, part of Ladakh, an ethnically distinct region with historical ties to Tibet, has been controlled by China for decades.

Tourists ride camels at Nubra valley in Ladakh. The heavily militarized region borders China.

Indian boy Naresh waits for customers as he displays his toys at a market in Srinagar September 8, 2011.

Residents watch as an Indian police honor guard performs a drill at the Mazar-e-Shohda (Martyr's graveyard) in Srinagar on July 13, 2011 during a ceremony held to mark the 80th anniversary of Kashmiris slain by the army of a Hindu king. Authorities in Indian Kashmir deployed thousands of security personnel in the main city of Srinagar to prevent separatist protests on a key state holiday. July 13 is marked in Indian Kashmir as "Martyrs' Day", which marks Maharaja Hari Singh's use of force in 1931 to quell protests against his rule, resulting in the death of 23 Muslims. Separatists had planned to hold anti-India demonstrations but authorities responded with hardline measures detaining and arresting key separatists.

An Italian tourist stands on a hilltop overlooking Leh city from Namgyal Tsemo Gompa monastery in Leh, capital of Ladakh, on July 8, 2011. The Buddhist-dominated Ladakh region, situated at a height of 11,499 feet, is famous among foreign tourists for its monasteries, landscapes, mountains, and rich cultural heritage.

A Bakerwal, or nomadic man, smokes a water pipe as his wife cooks evening meals outside their tent at a camp on the outskirts of Srinagar on June 27, 2011

Kashmiri Muslims offer prayers on a street on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar on August 2, 2011.

A child stands along with protesters and watches Indian policemen from a distance during a protest in Srinagar on August 3, 2011. Kashmiris shut down shops and businesses in a general strike to protest a man's death in police custody in the Indian-controlled portion of the disputed Himalayan region

Women selling vegetables wait for customers at a market in Leh, 275 miles east of Srinagar on July 7, 2011.

A Muslim boat man prays on his boat after breaking his fast during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar on August 8, 2011.

An Indian soldier patrols as a Kashmiri boy sits outside his home in Srinagar on August 14, 2011. Security was beefed up across the Kashmir Valley ahead of India's Independence Day on August 15

A farmer works in a paddy field near the fenced border between Indian and Pakistan in Suchetgarh, southwest of Jammu, on August 1, 2011. As India and Pakistan embark on a tentative peace process and try to decide how to open their borders to trade and travel, it will be the situation on the ground in places such as Suchetgarh that determine the pace of the detente.

Police use colored water from a cannon to disperse protesting state government employees of Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar September 8, 2011. The employees demanded a hike in their salaries.

Muslim children recite verses from the holy Quran at a local madrasa, or Muslim religious school, during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar on August 3, 2011.

A man takes a nap on sacks of onions at a wholesale market on the outskirts of Jammu September 14, 2011. Indian inflation climbed to its highest in more than a year as prices of food and manufactured goods surged

A passenger train leaves Jammu on the outskirts of the city August 5, 2011. India's struggle to build a railway to Kashmir has become a symbol of the infrastructure gap with China, whose speed in building road and rail links is giving it a strategic edge on the mountainous frontier. Nearly quarter of a century after work began on the project aimed at integrating the revolt-torn territory and bolstering the supply route for troops deployed there, barely a quarter of the 215-mile Kashmir track has been laid.

Indian Army soldiers patrol outside their camp at Gurez on August 20, 2011. Troops in Kashmir fought a deadly battle with suspected rebels crossing the Line of Control from Pakistani-controlled territory. One soldier and 11 suspected rebels were killed, according to the army.

A Kashmiri Muslim woman carries her daughter as they watch the funeral procession of Haji Syed Mohammad Yousuf, a 61-year-old retired teacher and worker of the governing National Conference party in Locktipora on October 1, 2011. Yousuf died in police custody after the region's top elected official handed him over to investigators probing charges that he took money from people promising to get them nominated as lawmakers

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