Wounded Kashmir

Farzana Mumtaz

2016 was a very rough year of Kashmir owing to about 100 deaths, hundreds blinded in 2016 agitation post militant commander Burhan Wani killing.

When Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti, who has stepped into the shoes of her late father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, was sworn-in as the first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir , heading the coalition government with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on April  5, 2016 it gave rise to lot of optimism and hope.

But, the series of protests and unprecedented agitation  started with the killing of Burhan Wani, a militant commander of the Kashmir-based Hizbul Mujahideen, by  security forces on 8 July 2016 at South Kashmir’s picturesque resort of Kokernag. After his killing, anti-state  protests started in all 10 districts of the Kashmir Valley. Protesters defied curfew with many causalities and injuries.

 

Curfew was imposed in all 10 districts of the valley on 15 July and mobile services were suspended by the government. Mobile and internet services remained suspended for many weeks this year.Kashmir valley remained under 53 days of consecutive curfew which was lifted from all areas on 31 August, however was reimposed in some areas the next day.

Some also dubbed the year 2016 as the year of dead eyes in Kashmir. A story by Newyork times described the pain in these words –

“Since mid-July, when the current wave of protests against the Indian military presence started, more than 570 patients have reported to Srinagar’s main government hospital with eyes ruptured by lead pellets, sometimes known as birdshot, fired by security forces armed with pump-action shotguns to disperse crowds.

The patients have mutilated retinas, severed optic nerves, irises seeping out like puddles of ink. “Dead eyes,” the ophthalmology department’s chief calls them.”

Mir Imran, human rights activist states – “Year 2016 wrote its own story of suffering and pain for the browbeaten Kashmiris. The state forces violated human rights with brazen impunity. Thousands injured, hundreds blinded, thousands in jails , about hundred civilian deaths clearly suggest that all what is wrong with the human rights situation in Kashmir. Undoubtedly, the year 2016 memories would be one of pain and suffocation for the masses of Kashmir. 2016 happenings urge us to settle the political issue of Kashmir for larger good of humanity.”

In nutshell, the year 2016 made Kashmir a synonym of suffering and wounds.

 

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