If you read my post in the morning I had prayed that no life should be lost today. Alas! The prayer went unheard. As I type this two boys 9 and 17 are preparing for their final journey. Killed for protesting against the killing of one of their own. What do u do in such a situation.
I planned to stay at home today as all of us were expecting heavy restrictions by the government in the wake of a protest march against the killing of 3 youth at Sopore. As the day progressed it became apparent that the government has taken a lenient view of the situation. Friends and family called to say things are good. I had some urgent work at office and a friend offered to drop me there. As I travelled the distance I could see people on the streets, Shops closed, no public transport, only a few private vehicles plying around. There was that tension in the air, the one when one gets a whiff of bad news.
I wondered how definitions change. This was what we were calling NORMAL. The scene was sufficient to scare the hell out of someone but we Kashmiris called it normal. Scary indeed. As I returned a few hours later as advised by my family/ colleagues/friends without completing my work I could see the gathering storm. News of deaths had already spread. The anger was on the streets as we passed a military truck my heart missed a beat. What if they feel threatened by a sound or stone? I was sure what they would do next train their guns on me. Three guys on a motorbike overtook us. I cursed them on their stupidity and started praying for our collective safety. They were smarter as they took a right turn avoiding the truck. The way they were looking at the truck revealed we were thinking the same thing. I asked my friend to follow suit but he was unrelenting as I kept pleading we passed the truck. Thank God nothing happened.
This kind of life was a routine in the 90’s when I was a child and would probably go nowhere unaccompanied. Things had changed for better especially in the last few years when the armed struggle changed into a peaceful one. In a few moments I was back in the 90’s. This was a two decade leap but in the wrong direction. The news from the local TV station (government controlled) is coming on right now has the death on the last of the list. The first headline is Indian PM meets Obama. The Chief Minister of the state and other ministers are seen in various functions as if the deaths are having no effect.
8 Kashmiri civilians have now been killed in incidents involving Indian security forces in less than 3 weeks. Each death has sparked protests leading to more killings by the troops.
The so called elected head of the state has not visited even a single tragedy befallen family. He can’t, it should clear the status of his representation.
I again pray to God that no one is killed anymore but at the same time I know that it can’t happen till we are occupied. God save us from the occupier and set our land free.