Kashmir valley has been boiling. We have had nothing but winds carrying the news of sorrow and lost hopes. Nothing seems to deter the iron bullets from tearing apart bodies.
The weather too seems to have given up hope in response to the bloodshed. We witnessed the harshest of winters and it is cold even now in summer (by Indian standards).
The news we received had us beyond despair, anguish and mental torment – The killing of a Kashmir University professor who had turned militant, a tourist stoned to death and a boy mowed down by an army vehicle.
The internet was banned in various places, including Srinagar. I had expected protests and anger from the so-called an ‘anti-national’ circles in support of human rights. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Perhaps it was too big a risk to take in the wake of the upcoming Karnataka polls.
However, what I saw on the internet were people posting propaganda and celebrating the army mowing down a young boy as an act of bravery. Perhaps the second act of bravery, according to these people, after Major Gogoi’s ‘adventurous’ act last year.
I felt speechless on seeing this. I wanted to pen down my frustrations but the fear of being branded an ‘anti-national’ kept me from it.
Later, I realised that if the people who found the unnecessary loss of human life an occasion for trolling didn’t have an iota of fear, why should a mourner be afraid? This is why I felt like exercising the Socratic principle of speaking truth to power.
One question that is always on my mind is for how long will this bloodshed go on? I don’t know if the people in government understand this question. Every time I ask this, I am answered with, “Pakistan!” “60 years!” “Nehru!” “Muslims are terrorists!” and so on.
Come on, I participate in elections and under your government’s tenure more civilians are dying, more J&K policemen are dying, more soldiers are being martyred and more young people are turning towards militancy, only to be killed at the hands of the Indian security forces. At the end of the day, it is Indians who are dying.
Then people on television glorify such brutality. On being questioned, they will label you ‘anti-national’. The three recent killings show how Kashmir is boiling.
The professor who turned militant and was killed just a day after he chose this dangerous path was a decent scholar in sociology at Kashmir University. According to a Facebook friend, he had wished to research on the dangers of using violence for resistance and on the glorification of stone pelting. Now we don’t know what drove him to choose the path of militancy – it surely meant death but he knew it. So three things: people are not afraid to die; alienation has increased tremendously and the state has shown no interest in dealing with it; the young generation cannot take any more of this grief, they are unable to survive this pain.
For the boy who was killed, at least an apology by the driver would have worked. Unfortunately, hoping for that would only be a distant dream and people instead celebrated the death.
The stone pelting of the tourist bus came as a shock to all of us. The cold-blooded murder of the 22-year-old was heart-wrenching. But again, I want to ask a question to the nationalist forces ruling this country. Didn’t the government, of which you are a coalition partner, provide amnesty to the stone pelters?
This policy of carrot and stick will only work if you have any designs for a long-term resolution but that definitely isn’t the case with this short-sighted government.
In Indian households, after someone’s death, people in the family talk about how they felt the presence of the deceased here or there. Sometimes, it turns into the story of a haunting. But with so many deaths caused due to cruelty, I don’t know how India will handle such a haunting.
The way people are turning to militancy and the rate at which they are being killed is dooming an entire generation of Kashmiris. I don’t think Modiji has any plans to take care of Kashmir’s cries and grievances.
Each evening in Kashmir is an evening of mourning. However, unlike the right-wing trolls, my sanskars have taught me to join hands and mourn a dead body and pray for their soul to rest in peace.