100 days of lockdown: What is the way forward?


Survey from Srinagar

Government has failed to fulfill the moral and democratic responsibility to break the deadlock.

100 Days of Lockdown: What is the way forward? Sunday marked the completion of 100 days of 2016 summer uprising with curfew, shutdown and restrictions paralyzing the life in Kashmir valley and affecting every section of the society. Over 90 persons have been killed and thousands injured, some of them blinded by pellets, while thousands of youth have been detained across the Valley in a massive crackdown launched by the state police. As uncertainty prevails, Rising Kashmir spoke to people from different fields to elicit their views about this summer’s uprising and the way forward.

Wasim Raja, artist and producer:

Kashmir completed 100 days of Hartal. It’s in itself a victory for Kashmiris. Now it’s time to rejuvenate ourselves to prepare for another struggle in future. We can’t forget our brothers and sisters who lost their precious life and who lost their sight during current turmoil. Kashmir is purely a political problem and it should be solved politically through dialogue. We have suffered a lot since 1947 and till date, nothing has been achieved.
We have suffered mentally, economically and suffered from loss of lives but nothing has been achieved so far. All the political parties both mainstream and all separatists need to sit across the table to find a lasting solution to Kashmir issue.
Taizeen Khan, physiotherapist:

Until and unless Kashmir issue is resolved we will keep on facing such uprisings. I am not a political person to decide if Hartals are the only way, but I do want to tell that the past three months have rendered us very weak economically. This has happened in 2008 and 2010 and will happen again if Kashmir dispute remains unresolved. So, it becomes a very difficult decision for a person like me to decide whether to stay or move back. We came back to help our own community grow.
I belong to rehabilitation sector and have many expansion plans in this sector. But right now my own survival here is becoming difficult, how can I further think to expand my rehabilitation center? I would like to add that if we want Kashmir to grow, we need to look for alternatives to Hartals or else a day will come when everyone would want to move out and there will be a brain drain at large scale.

Ar. Aabid Hussain Khan, Buchpora, Srinagar:

“Who will blink first?” is the situation that has become evident from the present standoff. One must say that the word “Shame” sounds little sober for the behavior and mess the ruling government has displayed. 100 days of lockdown and there is no outreach towards the solution. I don’t remember when I have heard last from the Chief Minister. She seems to have totally vanished along with her whole entourage. Delhi is mum and the media has been gagged. So what happens next is a big question everyone is left with. Hurriyat leaders seem to be hunting for options as how to carry forward this resistance and where to go from here.

Idress Bhat, daily wager:

I belong to the poor section of the society, whatever I earn during the day I spent at night on my family with a little saving. It has become very hard for me to manage expenses of my family. It is people like me who have to suffer and those who are in government service are getting their regular salaries.
The education of my children is suffering. I made a mistake by casting my vote, for the first time, that too for PDP. PDP looted us. Hurriyat was right when they called for election boycott. However, I completely support the freedom struggle of Kashmir, but at the same time I request the leadership to please consider our economic conditions before planning another mass-agitation.
They should plan it without hartals. Hartals have given us nothing, but pain and agony.
Izat Amin, college student:

The revolt of 2016 against India is totally different, people are more exuberant plus they are angrier this time around. Kashmir continues to bury its youth in graves and at the same time authorities keep talking about “reconciliation and dialogue”. I think Indian delegates should meet the youth representatives and hear from them of what they actually want. Kashmir can’t remain like this forever, we cannot remain in our homes forever, schools can’t remain closed forever and people can’t keep dying every day. People in Kashmir are peace loving.
Youth throwing stones at forces, shouting anti-Indian slogans and trying to destroy each and every symbol of government shows us how angry youth are. Instead of firing pellets and bullets on them they should be called for the talks with delegates and government officials. India should listen to the youth of Kashmir otherwise this agitation will never subside.

Zaid Ahmed, college student:

What began as an agitation led by the local boys in streets was soon brought under the leadership of the “United Hurriyat”. With nearly four months on and over 90 people dead and countless injured, we have to ask ourselves and the leaders as what we have achieved from our protests through strikes and chalo calls.
With nearly a million military and paramilitary forces in Kashmir, it’s hard to think of any chalo call being successful. From Tral chalo to Raj Bhawan chalo, forces with their strictness and ruthlessness have foiled almost every chalo call. It is like a chalo call has been reduced to only filling the blank space in protest calendars.
Until not so long ago, it was impossible to venture out during the strike hours with locals blocking the roads and markets obviously shut. After Eid the trend somewhat changed. There is a sense of normalness with transport plying on the roads and shops partially open. While many people will brand them as traitors, we cannot ignore the hardships that these people have faced during this unrest. In many areas local committees have set up the Bait-ul-Maals but obviously the help has not reached to all those affected.

—Courtesy: RK
[Survey by: Mir Liyaqat Ali; Manzoor-ul-Hassan; Shafaq Shah; Mansoor Peer and Rakib Chatt; Edited by Shoeb Hamid and Daanish Bin Nabi]