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Smiles in the valley

September 07, 2004


Smiling young girls and such cheerful images are common in many cities and villages of India, but not so much in Jammu and Kashmir.

Peace and its simple pleasures have eluded the Kashmiris for long.

But the peace process between India and Pakistan this past year has brought hope back in the valley.

The weekend's bilateral talks between  Foreign Ministers K Natwar Singh and Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri pledged to resolve the issues.

The most positive initiative has been the agreement to extend the yearlong ceasefire along the border of Jammu and Kashmir.

Despite differences in perception between the two countries over Kashmir, a series of confidence-building measures like the launching of a train and bus service between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has helped reduce tension and violence in the valley.

A reflection of the altered mood is seen in this image (left) where young girls cheer a girls' cricket match at their college.

It also reflects the changing face of women in an otherwise conservative society.

Photogaph: TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images


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