Another day of curfew, another day of violence, another day of uncertainty, another day of horror, another day of miseries…that’s what the fate of the people of Kashmir has become these days. Can you imagine living in a place where you will go out of your house but you are not sure whether you are going to come home alive? Whether you are going to come home injured or will end up in a hospital. It’s a place where pain and suffering have become a part of life. That’s how the people of Kashmir are living every day. Actually people of Kashmir are living in a cage since the last week. There is no food in the curfew areas, mobiles phones are shut, and the cable television network is shut down. Kashmir is a prison at this moment. Shutting down all these services is making people more anxious and makes us think that many more people have been killed and the government does want the news to go viral. No essential supply is going into the curfew areas. Children in these areas are suffering the most. Imagine infant babies not getting food. Can you imagine living with out essential supplies and food for days? There is the fear of being picked up by security forces and beaten to death or even shot. I cannot explain how much fear I have felt in these last few days.
I decided to go to some hospitals to check on the injured people. I was very scared and even my parents got paranoid. They didn’t want me to go out of the house. I understand why they got so worried because they know very well that anything can happen. I can be injured, shot or beaten up either by security forces or by the protesters. Accompanied by two of my cousins, we headed out of the house.
On the way, we witnessed stone pelting. In some places the security forces wanted us to come to them but we took another route and finally reached Soura Medical Institute. It’s like the AIIMS of Kashmir. At the emergency room, I saw people from nearby colonies have started ‘langars’, distributing juices and free medicines to the injured. It was surprisingly good to see people coming out to help people. There were injured coming to this hospital from all over Srinagar. People were donating blood as well. I saw many people injured with the pelt shots and some had bullet wounds. A 12 or 13-year-old kid had just come in and he was screaming with pain and doctors were attending to him. He had pellet wounds on his face.
After that we went to SHMS hospital, which was over-crowded. There were some NGOs working there and I got to know they have been working day and night from day 1. They were providing food, tea, medicines, clothes and footwear to all the injured and their families.
When I entered one of the wards at SHMS hospital, it was fully packed with the people who have injuries in their eyes. They were in so much pain. The injured are 5 years old, 10 years old, 15 years old; all were mostly below 25 years of age. I couldn’t gather the strength to take a picture as all of them were in so much pain. The doctors were saying that most of these kids are going to lose their eyesight. They will become blind for the rest of their lives. What is their fault? Showing anger and dissatisfaction towards the government is a democratic right that every Indian citizen has. Why did security forces use these pellet guns against them? Even if they did have to use pellet guns, they are supposed to target their legs and not their faces. They have intentionally targetted their faces. It seems they want to destroy the lives of these youths.
Then I went to another ward and saw a man that made me shiver with horror. This guy was from Pulwama district. This guy was in his apple orchard and after working there he was going home. He didn’t know that a few hours ago there was a stone-pelting incident. He was caught by the security forces and around 20-25 of them started beating him up. His whole body has rod marks on him. Most of his bones have been broken. His wife was crying non-stop by his side. Her wet eyes asking just one question, what’s is his fault? I took a picture of this guy on that hospital bed. I don’t understand human beings treat each other like this.
While looking for the injured, I met some Amarnath ‘yatris’. They were injured as well in a car accident. They were around 30 people who claimed that the army didn’t help them; neither did any of the other vehicles that were passing by. Local people came out to help them, most of who were unconscious, and brought them to the hospital. One of them was even given shelter in one of local homes and brought to the hospital the next day. In this tense situation people of Kashmir helped these ‘yatris’, saved their lives and proved yet again that Kashmiris are secular.
On the other hand, people coming on national news channels have been using communal language for the people of Kashmir. Even some of the ‘yatris’ I saw in some channels are using inappropriate language, which directly impacts the situation here in Kashmir. So far in all these years none of the ‘yatris’ were harmed or attacked, rather they were always helped. I don’t understand whether the people on these television channels want to help in solving the problem or want to instigate it? This is a serious question and we all need to think seriously about it.
I want to ask all those who talk about war with Pakistan, is that going to solve anything? In the last three wars, have we solved anything? I also want to ask those who say that lakhs of people came onto the streets because of Pakistan. I want to ask them have they forgotten what happened in 1947 when Pakistan attacked Kashmir? The people of Kashmir fought them and did not welcome them. If people of Kashmir wanted to go to Pakistan they could have chosen Pakistan, but they didn’t. They went with India and trusted the leadership of India. It’s time we look within and see what actually went wrong. What have the central governments done so far that instigated the situation? We need to think about this with an open mind. Bullets are not the answer to a political problem.
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