– Sajad Rasool
On the 12th of April, Indian Security Forces allegedly molested a school girl in North Kashmir’s Handwara town, 60 Kms from the summer capital of Kashmir. The reaction was obvious – people came out on the roads to protest against the alleged molestation, stones were pelted on the forces and forces once again reacted the same way they have in the past. Security forces killed two boys, one of them a budding cricketer. Blood was on the streets and their deaths were mourned throughout the state. It further anguished the locals; they burnt down the army bunker and yes, brought down the Indian tricolor too. Presently, the minor girl has been put in a police station and the family has not been allowed to meet her.
Sexual harassment against Kashmiri women is not anything new – the Indian Security forces have been harassing the Kashmiri populace for a very long time now – utilizing rape and molestation as weapons to suppress local people. India is fighting a war against the Kashmiri people on different levels i.e. psychological, physical and emotional. Every time people react, they show resistance to the forces of the world’s largest democracy, not by guns but by stones and bricks when they are subjugated to an extreme extent.
Another cycle of fear and nightmares has returned to the natives of the valley – killings, curfews, protests, blockades are once again seen everywhere. Streets are deserted and Indian forces and police can be seen everywhere.
India has deployed its 7 lakh forces to intimidate people. They kill and regret, in the same way they have been following for decades. They hunt and shoot, react to the protests and stones with bullets and shells and later on, apologize for what they do. Is that the way Indian Democracy works? When India was celebrating the Ambedkar Jayanti – the father of its constitution, the valley was mourning the death of its kids. Is this a new version of the democracy they run in Kashmir? Why have Ambedkar’s and Gandhi’s India given such impunity to its ‘rakshaks’? This is what common Kashmiris have been asking India and its people.
Most of the mainstream Indian media has once again played a criminal role, by following a blackout of the news coming from Kashmir. Within the state, people took to social media, the only way to communicate and share news in Kashmir. The double approach of Indian media and its bias has once again been proven. Indian media and the Indian state are synonyms for each other for common Kashmiris. Media has acted as a collaborator for the Indian state to continue its crimes and shield it from prosecution. The common Kashmiri has lost hope in both the Indian Democracy and Indian Media.
The escalating tension across the entire Kashmir valley, demonstrations and protests by the people against the killings continues. The state has shutdown internet services, barring people from using social media as ‘the only hope’ to reach people living across world and as a means to disseminate information. These are the methods followed by the state to hide its lies and subjugate people and commit more Human Rights violations.
The tool of fear will be used to control Kashmiris, a witch hunt will begin once again and soon perhaps, we will find hundreds of youth behind bars.
Picture by – Nadiya Shafi