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Kashmir prison on earth

Mubashir Iqbal Kitaba
KASHMIR is called the paradise on earth because it is famous all over the globe for its natural beauty, pleasant weather, water bodies, springs, lush green mountains, meadows, its handicrafts, its people for the hospitable behaviour irrespective of caste, creed, colour, region and religion towards its guests and tourists who came here from different parts of the world to enjoy its beauty and rich culture.
After the Pulwama attack a situation was created to tarnish and dent the image of Kashmir and Kashmiris by the Indian ruling political party for their electoral politics and to hide their failures. In this process the so-called mainstream national media helped them gain the sympathy of the Indian masses by running TV debates in which the whole of the Kashmiri population declared terrorist. Even some of the debaters asked the government to carpet bomb the Kashmiris in these non-sense TV debates. These news channels always add fuel to the fire. They instill among the masses hatred and misinformation. The recent example of that media propaganda is the attack on Kashmiri students, traders and businessmen in many parts of the country. Even Kashmiris were denied accommodation and asked to leave the colleges and universities where they are presently studying. India claims to be the world’s largest democracy and champion of human rights. But this world’s largest democracy maims, blinds, kills, tortures and humiliates its own people for raising their voice and put the inhabitants behind the bars for having ideological differences. Kashmiris have seen the worst mostly for the last three decades. We, the Kashmiris, saw our loved and dear ones falling to bullets, pellets, tortures, beatings, custodial deaths and humiliations. The recent order of the closure of the national highway on Sundays and Wednesdays every week for civilian traffic from Udhumpur to Baramulla comen one other than the world’s largest democracy.
The reason given for the closure of highway is the smooth flow of military conveys. The military and the security forces are those people who are responsible and duty bound to protect the life and property of people and sometimes when need arises they sacrifice their own lives in order to protect people’s lives. They are the people who are not in this profession because of earning livelihood but to protect the life and property of its inhabitants. And what these security forces are doing here is before everyone’s eyes.
And the tragedy with us is that those who claim to be the law enforcing agencies prove law breaking agencies. While going through this highway one can see the military and paramilitary personnel standing in breadth and length on the highway with sticks in their hands to beat, humiliate and terrorize the common people. Recently many videos went viral on social media where one can see how these forces beat and abuse people who are travelling through this route from Anantnag (Islamabad) to Srinagar or Srinagar to Baramulla.
The military force of any nation works on principles and in a professional manner. They treat their people with respect, dignity and honour. But we are welcomed with sticks in their hands where they beat anyone whom they wish and like. They treat us as slaves and second class citizens. This highway has become nuisance and headache for us. This highway which is the lifeline of Kashmir as everything comes and goes through it. By closing it for civilian traffic adds to economic slowdown of our already volatile economy. It affects everyone: students, businessmen, employees, patients and common people. It alienates Kashmiris further. Even in wars roads were not closed for civilian traffic.
The politicians who claim to be the well-wishers of people were never our well-wishers. They were but of themselves. If they were then the situation in Kashmir would have never reached this point where we are right now. If they were then no mother (either of Militant or Policemen) would have lost his precious life to bullets. If they were then no young boy would have thought of picking up arms. If they were then no Insha or Hibba would have been blinded by pellets. If they were then jails would have never been filled with people with PSAs. Instead of putting end to the miseries the government is further suppressing and alienating the people of Kashmir as these policies would bring nothing but death and destruction. The truth is that this piece of land no longer remains Paradise on earth but Prison on earth.
— The writer is PhD Research Scholar, based in Srinagar, Azad Kashmir.