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The conflict over Kashmir Kashmir is located in the heart of south-central Asia and shares borders with Afghanistan China Pakistan and India It has a population of 13 million of which 64 is Muslim The official language is Urdu Kashmiri is mostly spoken and other regional languages widely spoken are Dogri Hindi Dardi Pahari en English Kashmir is a land of breath taking scenery and a glorious climate The Kashmir valley is surrounded by the Himalayan Mountains that used to guard it from the outer world It has been described as an emerald set in pearls a land of lakes clear streams green turf and magnificent trees and mighty mountains Kashmir established itself as an agricultural economy Its a country that has been noted for its abundance and is rich in minerals such as limestone and marble A mere 27 of the population is literate according to a 1981 census and the majority is working in the agriculture mining and manufacturing section Kashmirs history can be traced back as early as the second century when it was part of the Kushan Empire under control of Kanishka and later part of China After years of Buddhist and Hindu rule Kashmir was converted to Islam in the late 14th century and became part of the Mogul Empire in 1586 The British installed a Hindu prince as ruler in 1846 The Muslim and Hindu peoples of Kashmir have lived in relative harmony and friendliness since the 13th century when Islam first became the majority religion of Kashmir Occasionally however there have been rulers and leaders who have had a narrow view of Islam and have subjected Hindu minorities to great cruelties and discrimination The current armed secessionist movement in Kashmir mostly derives inspiration from these people In 1947 the British gave up their dominant rule over India The new republics of Pakistan and India were now in competition for control over Kashmir with occasional interference by China In
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