Conflict and Religious Minorities The Case of Sikhs in Kashmir

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Wakar Amin
Ashish Kumar


Events in the Kashmir Valley during the late 1980s changed the demographic and sociopolitical outlook of the region. The armed insurgency that was primarily being carried out by the members of the majority-Muslim community saw organized attacks on the religious minorities of the valley, especially the Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits), resulting in their mass exodus from the valley. Other religious minorities, such as Sikhs and Christians, decided to stay in the valley. With much less research on the issues of minorities (except Pandits) in the Kashmir Valley as compared to other conflict-affected parts of the globe, we conducted a study to explore the issues of Sikhs as a minority group to seek answers to questions about the sense of alienation and neglect among the Sikhs living in the Kashmir Valley. In the process, we also inquired how Sikhs feel about the state’s response to various challenges they faced and how to ensure their integration in Kashmiri society. Drawing on an original survey conducted in the Kashmir Valley and from analyzing secondary data, we establish that the Sikhs have tried to maintain good relations with Muslims, whereas the state’s failure to address their issues has brought a sense of dejection among them. We also find that the conflict has affected Sikhs both socially and economically. The study concludes by providing a few recommendations that may be useful for policy makers to improve the situation of Sikhs in Kashmir.

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Author Biographies

Wakar Amin, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India

Wakar Amin is assistant professor of social work at University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India.

Ashish Kumar, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia

Ashish Kumar Singh is a doctoral candidate at the School of Politics and Governance at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.