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The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 - Where the Terror…
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The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 - Where the Terror Began (2012)

by Adrian Levy, Adrian Levy (Author), Cathy Scott-Clark

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In 1995 backpackers were assured by authorities that Kashmir was a Paradise and guaranteed absolutely safe, but when a group of tourists camping in an idyllic mountainside meadow was kidnapped by Pakistani-backed Islamic militants, authorities were not exactly surprised.

The beautiful region of Kashmir was a battleground between Hindus, supported by the Indian Government, and Muslims, sponsored by Pakistan: of the men who were taken, only one escaped, determined to lead authorities in a rescue attempt. The authorities however were not that interested.

In this thrilling [although arguably over-researched and lengthy] account, journalists Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark suggest that the hostages – who have never been found – were used as pawns by both the Jihadists, wanting to draw attention to the situation in Kashmir, and the Indian Government who was enjoying the adverse International publicity Pakistan was garnering as a state backing terrorists.

The events of 1995, they argue, opened a new era in the terror war, and led directly to the kidnapping and execution of Daniel Pearl, the rise of al Qaeda and the events of 9/11. A fascinating and meticulous read. ( )
1 vote adpaton | Aug 21, 2012 |
The Meadow is not a conventional Kashmir book. It doesn’t revolve around the history and geography of Jammu and Kashmir or its politics. It is essentially the unravelling of a crime that was carried out in the name of Kashmir’s separatist struggle but had nothing to do with it.

The brutal ways of the renegades were always known but The Meadow gives shocking details as to how this counter-insurgent group contributed to the murder and disappearance of the western hostages. The Crime Branch files, interviews with police officers, eyewitnesses from villages where the hostages were held, the surviving renegades, the book says, lead to one fact: the security agencies knew every detail of the location and movement of Al Faran militants and their five hostages
 
... [Masood] Azhar was deemed worth getting back at any price – and in this case, it was paid by six Western backpackers, kidnapped by Azhar’s comrades in 1995 as bargaining chips for his release. The Meadow, a meticulous, if sometimes overdetailed, account of the saga, is the name of the lush, pine-scented camping spot in the Kashmiri Himalayas from where they were snatched...

...the authors of The Meadow ... contend that the Kashmiri hostage crisis was effectively the opening shot in what became the global war on terror...

...the authors claim that far from being utterly clueless, the security forces identify the hostages’ exact location early on, but choose not to act... They further allege that for the same reasons, a rogue Indian police unit then had the hostages killed.

While such a theory may seem far-fetched, the level of research put in by authors... lend it plausibility.
 
The book points fingers at the central government...

India’s top officials aren’t the only ones “The Meadow” lays blame on. Woven into the nearly 500-page book are a number of blunders and miscalculations allegedly made by Indian and foreign officials: the area in Kashmir was not cleared of backpackers after the first kidnappings because of a religious pilgrimage in the area; a woman’s sighting of German Dirk Hasert’s kidnapping was not reported immediately because the Indian Army officer the woman approached sexually assaulted her and the Army was trying to hush that assault up; instead of allowing escaped hostage John Childs to lead police to the kidnappers, as he wanted to, American officials whisked him out of the country.

On Christmas Eve, 1995, the four remaining hostages were walked into heavy, deep snow behind the lower village of Mati Gawran, shot and buried, an eyewitness to the killings said, the book reports.

...“No one could risk the hostages being released and complaining of collusion, having seen uniforms and STF jeeps,” he said...

Arun Joshi, a reporter with the Hindustan Times and who covered the story at the time, has... not read the book but expressed skepticism about its claims. ...The story was not mysteriously leaked by intelligence to the Hindustan Times, Mr. Joshi said. Instead, he said, he pried some details out of the inspector conducting the negotiations when the official was “completely drunk.”
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adrian Levyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Levy, AdrianAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Scott-Clark, Cathymain authorall editionsconfirmed
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PROLOGUE

On 1 May 2011, a Prowler electronic-warfare aircraft, taking off from the USS Carl Vinson, jammed Pakistan's radar systems, silence spreading like emulsion over the Islamic republic.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 000736816X, Hardcover)

The shocking true story of a brutal kidnapping high in the mountains of Kashmir that marked the beginning of modern terrorism. In July 1995, ten Western backpackers take a trip of a lifetime. hey have come in search of many things -- nirvana, exhilaration, a sense of self. But over the course of the next week, their holidays take a terrifying turn when they become entangled in a nail-biting hostage drama that will suck them into an alien world of jihad and Islamic fundamentalism. In the months that follow, their fates will become caught-up in a bloody struggle between India and Pakistan, fought out in the airless heights of Kashmir. With the world looking on, four of the captured travellers will vanish off the face of the earth, never to be seen again, creating one of the region's great mysteries. Written with access to diaries, letters, unprocessed film and personal recollections from those enmeshed in the drama, drawing on classified police reports and secret tape recordings of Indian government negotiations, as well as interviews with the jihadis themselves and excerpts from their journals, Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark's book is a real-life thriller, a startling but compelling story told from the perspective of all involved. The Meadow charts how the fates of two groups of young men from different hemispheres became inextricably entwined on the mountain trails they followed. It tells of the terrifying escape of one hostage, the heart-rending secret letters another wrote on birch bark and hid in his clothing as he contemplated his situation, and how, with a brutal beheading, the kidnappers took an irreversible step into the abyss. Packed with explosive revelations, The Meadow provides the first definitive answers as to what happened to the missing backpackers, revealing how the kidnapping of July 1995 changed the face of modern jihad, its architects going on to sow the seeds of a cold-hearted war against the West.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:18 -0400)

The shocking true story of a brutal kidnapping high in the mountains of Kashmir that marked the beginning of modern terrorism. In July 1995, ten Western backpackers take a trip of a lifetime. hey have come in search of many things -- nirvana, exhilaration, a sense of self. But over the course of the next week, their holidays take a terrifying turn when they become entangled in a nail-biting hostage drama that will suck them into an alien world of jihad and Islamic fundamentalism. In the months that follow, their fates will become caught-up in a bloody struggle between India and Pakistan, fought out in the airless heights of Kashmir. With the world looking on, four of the captured travellers will vanish off the face of the earth, never to be seen again, creating one of the region's great mysteries. Written with access to diaries, letters, unprocessed film and personal recollections from those enmeshed in the drama, drawing on classified police reports and secret tape recordings of Indian government negotiations, as well as interviews with the jihadis themselves and excerpts from their journals, Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark's book is a real-life thriller, a startling but compelling story told from the perspective of all involved. The Meadow charts how the fates of two groups of young men from different hemispheres became inextricably entwined on the mountain trails they followed. It tells of the terrifying escape of one hostage, the heart-rending secret letters another wrote on birch bark and hid in his clothing as he contemplated his situation, and how, with a brutal beheading, the kidnappers took an irreversible step into the abyss. Packed with explosive revelations, The Meadow provides the first definitive answers as to what happened to the missing backpackers, revealing how the kidnapping of July 1995 changed the face of modern jihad, its architects going on to sow the seeds of a cold-hearted war against the West.… (more)

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