On 4 July 1995, a gang of armed men abducted four Western backpackers from a campsite in Kashmir known as ‘the Meadow’. One of the hostages soon escaped, whereupon the gang abducted two more trekkers. Of these five prisoners, one was later found beheaded; the others are still missing.
Using an enormous range of first-hand testimony, Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark have pieced together a multi-stranded narrative of the events that triggered the seizure, the military and police response, the privations endured by the hostages, the abortive negotiations with the kidnappers, the impact on the hostages’ families, and the media circus that accompanied the whole affair. The Meadow also provides a definitive end to the story, which has remained unresolved for seventeen years.
While the timeline of the hostage drama drives the book forward, the authors are careful to place developments in context within the long-running insurgency in Kashmir, explaining how Indian security forces were ranged against several types of armed militants, including local Kashmiri separatists and various factions of foreign mujaheddin, often