Turbulent summers in Kashmir

Sheikh Saqib

Summer has always emerged as a season of war between stones and bullets in Kashmir. This time it’s just the month of April and six young people have been shot dead and several others injured. These

killings and a shameful action from the  army which comes wearing the mask of what it calls its ‘security’ forces has brought the people of Kashmir on streets with one slogan chanted endlessly,

Hum kya Chahtey? What we want? Aazadi! Freedom. On April 13 , the  army fired bullets at a demonstration in Handwara , who were themselves protesting about a girls alleged molestation by an Indian trooper. One of the bullet hit a 21 year old Iqbal Farooq Pir and minutes later another youth, Nayeem, also fell on the ground followed by a 70 year old lady who was calmly working in her vegetable garden. Three killings in a day led more Protests , and more killings. In 4 days  five people were shot dead on the streets of Kashmir. After the news got published in the Kashmiri press thousands defied the police and joined the funeral procession the next day , chanting angry slogans and pledging revenge.

The whole Kashmir is under strict military restrictions. Citizens  are locked up inside their homes here, as they are in every town in the valley. For 5 days, shops, businesses, most government offices and schools have been shut. In a convulsion of anti-India anger, residents—thousands at a time—have defied  harsh restrictions to come out on the streets , raining stones at everything that symbolizes the state’s authority. They have fought pitched battles with police and paramilitary forces, who have responded with lethal force, killing over six residents mostly teenagers.

Demonstration against Indian security forces escalated on 13th April when it was  revealed that a Handwara based girl was allegedly molested in a Public toilet by an Indian army trooper , After taking note of the scene people reclaimed the streets , came out in massive demonstration with thousands of people protesting against the shameful act by the India army.

This stepping out of young people on the streets resulted in the killing of three people and two on next day  at the hands of Indian forces.

Protest appears and young people die. Though with the start of summer the years 2008-2010 got refreshed when  brutal deaths of Tufail , Wamiq , Zahid ,  Inayat were laid to rest in martyr’s graveyard(

mazar-e-shouhda) and this time five more are going to be remembered as martyr’s.

The year 2008-2010 gave rise to hundreds of civilian killings by Indian forces in a very short span of time including eminent separatist leader, sheikh Aziz.

The teenagers of 2008-2010 who never had a childhood at all , who have seen their childhood under the shadow of guns, didn’t fear death.lt is this generation that picked up rocks in violent protests in the year2008 – 2010 unrest that resulted in the killing of more than 200 people at the  hands of Indian Forces.

Every day brings news of more unarmed protesters killed somewhere in Kashmir. The children of the conflict fight the soldiers with stones and receive bullets in return. The years since 1989 seventy thousand Kashmiri have been killed and eight thousand have gone missing. To this must be added the less visible costs of torture , rape , lifelong physical incapacities and grievous economic, social and psychological damage. The extent of this devastation will probably never be fully estimated.

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