At the time of partition in 1947, Maharaja of Kashmir Hari Singh was forced to seek India’s help to fight the invading Pashtun militia, backed by then Pakistani government. In 1948, the UN brokered a resolution under which a plebiscite wasto be held to determine the future of Kashmir. However both the Indian and Pakistani governments did not carry out the resolution. Eventually, a full-scale armed conflict between Islamic militant groups and the Indian army broke out in 1989, with the objective of to attain Azad Kashmir (Free Kashmir). The valley has been a theatre of conflict ever since.

In June 2010, the Indian army killed two alleged Islamic militants near the town of Sopore, just outside the capital Srinagar.  During a public protest to reclaim the dead bodies of the alleged militants, the police used tear gas and pellets and killed two young protesters.  This triggered a massive campaign against the Indian Government. Numerous demonstrations were organized throughout the valley during which almost one hundred  youth were killed, and the entire Kashmir valley was under curfew for many months. The Kashmiri youth fought the paramilitary forces with stones, a new intifada.

Images from this series are from May-June 2010.

Sopore,  May 2010 –   Unidentified Islamic militants killed by the Indian Army.

Uri, Kashmir,  May 2010 –   A mass grave used to bury militants near Uri, close to the line of Control,  Kashmir.

One of the girls from the village complain that her brother was taken away by the local police just before an operation conducted by the Indian army to kill two unidentified militants.

Srinagar, Kashmir,  May 2010 –   An onlooker at a hotel in Sopore where there was an encounter between the Indian military and militants.

Uri, Kashmir,  May 2010 – Atta Mohammed, care taker of the mass graves in Uri area.

Srinagar, Kashmir,  May 2010 – Photograph of a youth who lost his thumb for a tear gas shell fired into the crowd during a protest.

Srinagar,  May 2010 – Youth seen during a rally in Sringar.

Srinagar, Kashmir,  May 2010 –  Graffiti reading  ‘Go India Go Back’  – an anti India slogan seen on the streets of Srinagar.

Sopore,  May 2010 – Leaders of Hurriyat conference (Mirwaiz faction) seen during a rally in Srinagar.

Srinagar, Kashmir,  May 2010 – Tehreek-e-Hurriyat  leader  & Chair Man of All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman,  Syed Ali Sha Geelani speaks to his supporters and party-men in Srinagar.

Sopore,  May 2010 – Young men throw stones at the security personnel.

Srinagar, Kashmir,  May 2010 –  Police try to escape the stone pelting by youth during a demonstration in Srinagar.

Srinagar, Kashmir,  May 2010 –  A woman cries to the youth to stop the stone pelting, as her house is caught in between and the windows are being broken.

Sopore, Kashmir,  May 2010 –  Daily life in a village near Sopore.

Srinagar,  May 2010 – Supporters of Hurriat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani listen to his speech in Srinagar.

Sopore,  May 2010 –   Mentally ill former Mujahideen solider seen with his mother near their house in Sopore.

Baramaula, Kashmir,  May 2010 –  Portrait of a woman with her daughter, her husband  has been arrested by the police 6 months ago on false charges.

Srinagar, Kashmir,  June 2010 –  Men perform their Friday prayers at Jama masjid, Srinagar.

Sopore,  May 2010 – Countryside outside  Sopore town.

Srinagar,  May 2010 –   Freedom is a common aspiration of majority of  Kashmiris.


Sami Siva is a freelance photographer based in New Delhi. He has covered social, political and post-conflict stories from Afghanistan, Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Northeast India. 

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