India, however, is directly responsible as it claims legitimate ownership of the territory. Its forces are supposed to be there for protection. Instead their role is becoming increasingly repressive, along with the erosion of the special status it was promised on accession. Pakistani infiltrators have exploited this for more than a decade to create a climate of insurgency in which innocents are victims.
Nadiya's death should bring home the realisation that Vajpayee needs to come to terms with the people of Kashmir before dealing with Musharraf. Delay can only help Pakistan. Loss of autonomy and the strong-arm methods of the security forces threaten to turn local sentiment towards Pakistan, which was never favoured before. The primary demand is still for independence, or at least iron-clad autonomy. New Delhi needs to place this—the third option—squarely on the table if meaningful talks are to be held.