Upon being caught up in a storm of charged communal and political disruption in parts of India, it is imperative to not succumb to oblivion of the Kashmir Coercion continuing for 200 and counting days.  

If anything other than Pakistan bashing validates the pro establishment notion of nationalism, it is the state of Kashmir (among other ‘verified’ indicators of course!) Kashmir has surfaced with enough frequency to be made into a cliché. It’s not actually clichéd but normalised to make it an acceptable norm for the state being the land of violence and turbulence of peace. This is in antithesis of what Hazrat Amir Khusrau saab would reckon:

“Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin ast,” which translates to, “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here,” 

Amit Shah's tweet post the abrogation of Article 370, via Twitter
Amit Shah’s tweet post the abrogation of Article 370, via Twitter

Contrary to this landscape of heaven is now a hellhole for mothers and fathers who ache to unite with their children- taken away from them and booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) post the 5th August 2019 contentious step of the government to revoke Article 370 in the valley. The act allows detention without any bail, trial or charge for upto two years. A report published by Al Jazeera claimed the number of detainees totalling to 500. According to sources they have been shifted out of Kashmir owing to a space crunch in prisons.

Atiqa Begum's quote given to BBC via @withkashmir on Instagram
Atiqa Begum’s quote given to BBC via @withkashmir on Instagram

Begum is a mother of 22-year-old Faisal Aslam Mir who was separated from her and charged under the “draconian” PSA amidst the clampdown. She claims that he left the house to purchase medicines and never returned. She received the information that he’s detained in a jail in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. She can’t afford to pay for the distance and just curls up in cries and duas to meet him. Another ballad is that of the father of Aqib whose son was disabled due to pellet injury and levied no mercy under the PSA.

144 detainees are identified as minors including a nine year old, as checked by the AFP in a police list, however post the 2012 amendment in the PSA, it’s prohibited to detain a person below the age of 18.

Brutality by administration has been registered in Delhi itself in the midst of protest tide against the regime. How are we to even contemplate the brutality that has been unleashing upon Kashmiris under the closed doors when they decide to speak against the power which has failed them? 85% of pellet victims examined after 2016 uprising fall victim to psychological disorders (Source: CMC Srinagar).

College students teaching children in Kashmir, via Reuters
College students teaching children in Kashmir, via Reuters
Text on Kashmir via @rhiyad_e_dehr on Instagram
Text on Kashmir via @rhiyad_e_dehr on Instagram

For seven straight months there was an internet blackout among other things, with intermittent conditions levied to operate it. The Supreme Court has already dubbed the internet ban as “unconstitutional.”  On 5th March 2019, finally it was restored but only up until 17th March. There are worries over IP address tracking if voice meets dissent and reverberate on social media against the power. This shutdown has resulted in the aftermath of the economy taking a slump thereby uniting it with India’s economy as a whole taking a tailspin. 150,000 jobs were lost as registered by Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Difficulties are faced by children attending schools and colleges. There’s an introduction of the new curriculum whereby students will learn about the ‘reorganisation’ of the state into two union territories with omission of incidents of clampdown, shutdown and communication blockade.

Skepticism arises on the construct of education as a reform when it’s orchestrated to take sides so blatantly. Generals talk of youngster’s abode to ‘deradicalization camps’ and slogans of freedom when hurled lands you to sedition. The partisanship of military swifts a silence and normalisation of control perpetuates. Entire Kashmir is in darkmode and uncertainty of prolongness of this truth is haunting.

“In the dark times

 will there also be signing?

Yes, there will also be singing

about the dark times.”

-Bertolt Brecht


Feature image credits: @inkblotsandverses via Instagram

Umaima Khanam

[email protected]