Asia-Pacific, India, Human Rights

Terror in Kashmir: The Blind Awaken Minds

After 52 days of curfew, 90 lives have been claimed and 3000 others have suffered serious injuries, including blindness, from the pellet injected districts of south Kashmir, what else must they endure?

Once a beautiful and serene valley, now a warzone of deafening gunshots that drive terror and fear into the human soul. At times like this, we can only hope the terror will end and every child can feel safe again.

Even when the gunshots subside, the pain and mental torture remains. Each day of terror and the unknown of tomorrow escalates the pain and frustration in the hearts and minds of every Kashmiri. The violence needs to stop but when and how remains the topic of debate. The blind, those who lost their eyesight during the pellet gun attacks, are awakening minds across the globe each day. The youth of Kashmiri are armed with nothing more than rocks and an unconditional belief in the fight to uphold the freedom movement. However, their every attempt to stop the harassment and humiliation faced by Indian forces may not succeed without the intervention of peace keeping forces.

Are young Kashmiri’s doing the right thing? We know the alternative of turning a deaf ear towards the violence and major political issues will not resolve anything either. Kashmiri’s are having their rights sabotaged each day, in the very own country they live. How can they call themselves independent if they have never been able to experience independence? They possess nothing more than the land they live on. The question remains, will these pellet gun victims awaken minds to institutional levels that will devise a logical solution for giving freedom and rights back to the Kashmiri population?

Kashmir for India or Kashmir for Pakistan? Rather than making this the topic for debate, why don’t we ask a different question, what about Kashmir for Kashmir? Set Kashmir free to exercise their humanitarian and national rights. Give Kashmir the right to celebrate and congregate without India taking charge to ward off threats to their sovereignty. Eid-ul Azha, one of the biggest festivals of Muslims has been affected by the beef ban, a law where the religious sentiments in a complete Muslim majority area are being side lined.

At this point, no one is safe. On September 5, 2016, two photo journalists were the victims of gunshots and pellets thrown by the Indian forces. The freedom of speech is snatched each day, clearly reflecting how violent and brutal the attacks are for anyone entering the warzone; even those reporters trying to covey the stories to the rest of the world.

To restore the normalcy of the disputed territory and with involvement from every government elected official in India, delegations are sought but end in futile talks. The citizens do not believe in any delegation as for 70 years they have been subject to false hopes in the way of their liberation movement.

As far as India is concerned, democracy is cherished and power is given to the voters. In Jammu and Kashmir (a.k.a. J&K), the valley’s fate is being determined through nomination instead of election. Corruption along with rigging has been at the forefront for too many years. Politicizing the lives of Kashmiri population and playing with their emotions has been the norm of Indian leaders since the inception of this problem.

Every effort is made to block the real spirit of Kashmiri citizens. Before the global awareness of the war in Kashmir, mobile internet was blocked to stop the exposure of what was really happening. The vicious pellet gun attacks were exposed on social media after Burhan Wani’s death by the Indian forces.

The recent attacks regarding pellet guns and the mind awakening stories of unjust cruelties have caught the eyes of many across the globe. However, the nominated leaders in the valley of Kashmir are fading the hopes of youth and elders. Through false beliefs and fear of bringing the truth to the surface, Kashmiri’s are not given the right support. The All Parties Delegation to Kashmir is biased and outranks the political rights of the area.

“We intend to talk to individuals and groups who want peace and normalcy in Kashmir Valley,” – Home Minister, Rajnath Singh

In this time of crisis and darkness prevailing in the area, social support institutions and United Nations should not only take notice but nip this evil. Mere lip service lacking sound reforms is of no use now and will never be a proactive solution.

On another note, Eid-ul Azha, one of the biggest festivals of Muslims, has just passed and India on one hand is killing locals with regards to the beef ban, and Kashmir is also subjected to this law where the religious sentiments in a complete Muslim majority area are side lined as always. In this state of unrest, where every political and religious aspiration is downturned due to the government officials, mental health problems are also increasing. The recent statistics have shown that 1.8 Million Kashmiri adults are suffering mental distress from the dreadful situation they are witnessing every day.

When the war is all said and done, Kashmir will attempt to get back to a state of normalcy. However, those who have been scarred, blinded, and mentally tormented will have the constant daily reminder of what they fought for – freedom and protection on their own land.

About Sehrish Khawaja

Sehrish is currently enrolled in a Bachelor in Business Administration program at the National University of Science and Technology. She aims to become is an aspiring entrepreneur, to bring in innovation and remove all social taboos. Sehrish pays keen attention to all the sociological problems emerging in society. Being a great protagonist of education, she finds it as the only solution for removal of all mankind's problems.

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