SRINAGAR (AFP) In a year of watershed events from Berlin to Tiananmen Square, 1989 also witnessed the birth of one of the worlds longest-running freedom struggles in Kashmir. Twenty years on, the bitter struggle against Indian rule in the scenic, Himalayan region continues, even though some groups that took up arms have since chosen to eschew violence. India puts the official death toll at more than 47,000 people, while human rights groups say the number of dead and disappeared is closer to 70,000. While the roots of the problem go back to the Indian sub-continents gaining of independence and subsequent partition in 1947, the launch of the full-scale insurgency is generally traced to the December 1989 kidnap of the daughter of Indias home minister. Rubiaya Sayeed, then a 23-year-old medical intern, was freed on December 13, 1989 in exchange for five jailed freedom-fighters whose release triggered celebrations across the held valley. It was the police response - a fierce crackdown in which more than 100 people were killed - that prompted Kashmiris to take up arms against the Indian occupation. Among the freedom-fighters was Afroz Ahmed, now 42, who said he and many others had been inspired by historic events elsewhere in 1989, particularly the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet military withdrawal from Afghanistan. The events in Germany and the Russian defeat gave us confidence at that time to take on India, he told AFP. The Kashmir struggle initially began as an independence movement spearheaded by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). Later, the wing was taken over by groups favouring the regions accession to Pakistan. Indias response to quell the violence was to pour hundreds of thousands of military and paramilitary troops into the held valley, a move that alienated many in the majority Muslim community. Human rights groups in IHK, as well as monitors like the New York-based Human Rights Watch, have accused the security forces of widespread rights abuses. India says it probes all such claims.