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Conflict in the Indian Kashmir Valley I: exposure to violence

DOI: 10.1186/1752-1505-2-10

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We undertook a two-stage cluster household survey in two districts (30 villages) of the Indian part of Kashmir to assess experiences with violence and mental health status among the conflict-affected Kashmiri population. The article presents our findings for confrontations with violence. Data were collected for recent events (last 3 months) and those occurring since the start of the conflict. Informed consent was obtained for all interviews.510 interviews were completed. Respondents reported frequent direct confrontations with violence since the start of conflict, including exposure to crossfire (85.7%), round up raids (82.7%), the witnessing of torture (66.9%), rape (13.3%), and self-experience of forced labour (33.7%), arrests/kidnapping (16.9%), torture (12.9%), and sexual violence (11.6%). Males reported more confrontations with violence than females, and had an increased likelihood of having directly experienced physical/mental maltreatment (OR 3.9, CI: 2.7–5.7), violation of their modesty (OR 3.6, CI: 1.9–6.8) and injury (OR 3.5, CI: 1.4–8.7). Males also had high odds of self-being arrested/kidnapped (OR 8.0, CI: 4.1–15.5).The civilian population in Kashmir is exposed to high levels of violence, as demonstrated by the high frequency of deliberate events as detention, hostage, and torture. The reported violence may result in substantial health, including mental health problems. Males reported significantly more confrontations with almost all violent events; this can be explained by higher participation in outdoor activities.The British rule over Jammu and Kashmir terminated in 1947. During partition, the Kashmiri population – the majority of whom is Muslim – was promised a choice of joining either India or Pakistan through a popular vote but this plebiscite never took place. Instead, partition was the start of a long history of conflict affecting the roughly 8 million inhabitants of Kashmir [1]. Both India and Pakistan have made control of a unified Kashmir an


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