The never ending curfew in Kashmir continues- it is nearing 43 days now and shows no signs of coming to an end.
What is happening there? The news we get is in pieces, the official version the total opposite of the ground version. The people must be going through untold sufferings. Every day we hear only of terror infiltrations across the border, how many of our jawans were injured and the number of civilians killed- it is now more than 65(the official version). And we get to see a picture of the army patrolling totally empty streets.
One fact is as clear as a bell. That the Indian army and the local police are a hated lot by the Kashmiris. The amount of militarization/policing there is unequalled in India. While there is one policeman for 761 people for the rest of India, there is one soldier for every 15 Kashmiris. Do we love our policemen or try to avoid them? Let us ask ourselves(men, women and children) this question and try to answer it honestly.
The latest news filtering from Kashmir talks about army reprisals in the villages of Kashmir which have seen protests in the latest round of violence. In saffron-rich Pulwama district of South Kashmir,30 yr old college lecturer, Shabir Ahmad Mungoo, was dragged outside his home and thrashed to death by “drunk soldiers.”
Now our patriotism does not allow us to talk about drunken soldiers. But human beings are human beings across the world. Lieutenant-General Satish K Dua, Chinar Corps commander, told reporters in Srinagar on Thursday that the death of Ahmad was “regrettable”, but also said that it was a joint patrol and that they will investigate the matter.
“The army threw iron rods at the high-tension lines and the electricity went out in the entire area. They then started entering every house and beating up everyone who came in their way,” Wali, the father of the lecturer said. While holding Ahmad’s 15-month-old son, Nouman, in his lap on Thursday inside his house, Wali said this was the second tragedy he has had to face in two years after losing his wife in 2014. She was hit by an army vehicle in the Lethpora area, on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, after which she died.
After an ambulance driver was shot dead by the army in the Safa Kadal area of Srinagar, the government issued orders that even critically ill patients should be treated in district/subdistrict local hospitals and not shifted to Srinagar as the army and CRPF patrol the streets at night. Now all of us know the level of critical care facilities available in our primary & secondary health centres.
The Doctors Association of Kashmir(DAK) has regularly been posting the events unfolding since July as they have been in the thick of the ongoing civilian deaths and unprecedented blindings and pellet injuries. Two of their almost daily posts are given below.
Srinagar, July 26: Amid growing trauma due to civil unrest, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today said that shortage of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in Kashmir hospitals is killing critically injured patients.
Srinagar, Aug 13: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today condemned in strong words thrashing of hospital staff at sub-district hospital Bijbehara. It is shocking that on Friday an ambulance ferrying a critically ill patient was detained by police for two hours which is criminal. Hospitals are shelled, medical personnel are thrashed and ambulances are vandalized.
But at the end of the day we can only be relieved that we are not born in Kashmir. A place which looks like heaven is living hell for its people. They are either shot or blinded in the name of India which has the impunity to call this people’s movement for freedom as cross-terrorism.
If one is sincere in quelling this unending violence, send a team of neutral peace keepers who will talk to the people and find out what they want. We are already tainted by the killing of our children. Let us stop atleast now.