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Kashmir

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On a cold autumn morning Abdul Rashid Mir and his 7-year-old daughter Ishrat arrive in a field in the Konibal area of Pampore to collect saffron flowers.

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As the year nears its end, the Chinar trees have turned a crimson red and the water in the Dal Lake is still and calm. The peace in the troubled Kashmir region has a hold of the nerves of the...

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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. -- Lane Turner (47 photos total)
Indian tourists enjoy a traditional Shikara boat ride on Dal Lake in Srinagar, India on July 7, 2011. (Mukhtar Khan/AP)

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Giulio Di Sturco

War at the Edge of Heaven

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In August 2008, thousands of Muslims filled the streets of Srinagar, the capital of Indian-ruled Kashmir, shouting “azadi” (freedom) and raising the green flag of Islam. That was the start of a new revolution In Kashmir.
The Indian government’s insistence that peace is spreading in Kashmir contradicts a report by Human Rights Watch in 2006 that described a steady pattern of arbitrary arrest, extrajudicial execution and torture by Indian security forces.

In 2005, a survey by Doctors Without Borders, who provide basic health care and psychosocial counseling to the population, traumatized by over 20 years of violence, found that Muslim women in Kashmir, prey to the Indian troops and paramilitaries, suffered some of the most widespread sexual violence in the world.

Over the last two decades, most ordinary Kashmiri Muslims have wavered between active rebellion. They fear the possibility of Israeli-style settlements by Hindus-reports of a government move to allocate 92 acres of Kashmiri land to a Hindu religious group are what sparked the younger generation into the public disobedience expressed of late.

Hindu nationalists have already formed an economic blockade of the Kashmir Valley. In 1989 and ’90, when few Kashmiris had heard of Osama bin Laden, hundreds of thousands of Muslims regularly petitioned the United Nations office in Srinagar, hoping to raise the world’s sympathy for their cause. Indian troops responded by firing into many of these largely peaceful demonstrations, killing hundreds of people and provoking many young Kashmiris to take to arms and embrace radical Islam.
A new generation of politicized Kashmiris has now risen, and the world is again likely to ignore them – until some of them turn into terrorists.

 

Bio

Giulio di Sturco is a 30-year-old Italian photographer currently dividing his time between Milan and New Delhi.

He studied photography at the European Institute of Design and Visual Arts in Rome, and has covered North-American and the South-East Asia issues for many magazines such as L’espresso magazine, Vanity fair, Io Donna, The Daily Telegraph magazine, Time magazine, Marie Claire, Geo magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, Newsweek.

Since 2008 he start a closer collaboration with some of the most important international organization such as Greenpeace, MSF, Unitaid, United Nations, WHO and Action Aid.

In April 2009 Giulio Joined the VII Mentor Program.

 

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Giulio Di Sturco

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