Views from Srinagar
As a serious citizen, the thought that troubles me most is not my school days have gone wasted or my studies are badly hit but that youth of my land are being killed and blinded.
Tabeen Shabir Matjee
TWO weeks of complete shutdown, mobile and internet blockade, ban on news channels and media gag is what defines Kashmir of 21st century. Kashmir is a territory ruled by one of the biggest democracies of the world by whom the freedom of speech and expression is so loudly advocated.
But what is happening on the ground Kashmir is completely at odds with what India boasts herself for. Our land has been under subjugation for a long time now. We have raised our voices against its atrocities time and again but these voices have always been always muzzled. The voice of the voiceless has been undermined. This is sheer cowardice on the part of our rulers. It simply reflects how badly they fear the truth.
The local newspapers of Kashmir were banned some years back and now by imposing further bans they want us to rely completely on Indian media. This media has left no stone unturned to mislead masses by drawing between us the lines of good and bad Kashmiri.
Most of the Indian media portrays Kashmiris and their identities wrongly before the Indian public and people around the world. When they say that Kashmiris are importing their feelings from across the border, as a Kashmiri it is a matter of abject to me.
Indian media projects as if my pride and dignity is on sale. The said media is always busy snapping the blame of the bloodshed in Kashmir upon Pakistan. This is totally absurd as New Delhi is never ready to introspect and figure out as to what is wrong with its system in Kashmir.
They often talk about the inciting of violence among Kashmiris. Who instigated about two to four lakh people to attend Burhan Wani’s funeral at Tral in south Kashmir? Who instigated young men to put their lives at stake and face the armoured forces?
I don’t think the people who have been killed or injured received any dictation from anywhere to pick up stones and fight for their right. It is simply the retaliation to the cruelties and brutalities that have been showered upon us that today so many young boys have come on the roads to show their resentment.
It is well said by Nelson Mandela “Depths of oppression creates heights of character”. Pakistan needs not to be blamed for this aggravated situation in Kashmir.
As a youngster, yes, I am instigated. I’m never inspired by Pakistan’s incitements. The fact is that when I witness the bloodshed of the people of my land, how can I refrain from supporting Kashmir’s struggle? When I see women being beaten up, youngsters being killed, crippled and blinded, mobile services clamped down, that is enough for me to get instigated.
Peoples struggle is completely indigenous. I’ve not imported these sentiments from Islamabad (Pakistan) or any other place. The backlash witnessed in the past two weeks is not driven by any external force. The people of Kashmir possess enough intellect to decide what is right and what is wrong.
The government needs to understand that by hampering the communication system it is weakening its position in Kashmir and boosting the anger among masses.
New Delhi needs not to look upon us as poor chaps. We are the educated and well aware of our history. The pellet guns and its havoc that has visited the teen-aged people of Kashmir define an absolute savagery. The deaths and injuries that took place in Kashmir show that the forces fired at will.
Agitations are witnessed everywhere, even in every other places of India. Mobs are violent but does that mean the only way to deal with them is to crush people by blinding and killing the people?
In the recent agitation that took place in Una in Gujrat, no civilian casualty was recorded. This shows that Kashmiris are being treated as second and third class people. They just possess a tag of having a special status.
Kashmir is not even treated at par with the other Indian states. In Una, one policeman was stoned to death by the agitating mob. How many pellets and bullets were fired in retaliation? How many protestors were killed or injured? It clearly indicates that there are different standards being adopted in dealing with agitations in India and Kashmir.
The forces say that they were compelled to shoot when the crowd tried to snatch the weapon from them. Was the 14 year old Insha Malik, who was hit by the pellet in her eyes, also a part of the violent fray? Was Shabeer Ahmad who was shot twice when he tried to save his mother from being beaten up by the troops also a weapon snatcher? Or were the two ladies who were killed in Qazigund also trying to snatch weapons from the armed forces?
As a student, when I see Kashmir under siege, the thought that troubles me the most is not that my school days have gone wasted or my studies are badly hit. The cause of distress in my heart at the first place is that the youth of my land, my brothers and sisters are being killed and blinded.
It really hurts me as a Kashmiri youngster when I ponder as to what would a 14-year old girl feel like when she is declared sightless?
Among the injured, 170 mostly between 9 to 21 years of age have received injuries in their eyes. At least 20 have their both eyes severely damaged by pellets while another 10 have completely lost their one eye to lethal ammunition.
The stories of bloodshed and pain leave me with the question as to what is going to be our future when those who make our future are left disabled and blinded.
[Author is young scholar in Kashmir]