“We don’t want sympathy, we need a solution which is long lasting” A Kashmiri student speaks out

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On the 58th day of an absolute clamp down in Jammu and Kashmir, the Supreme Court of India had postponed the hearings of all Kashmir related petitions which has created furor in the international community which stands for the freedom of Kashmir. A Kashmiri student from Aligarh Muslim University demands a long lasting solution for the question of Kashmir, he says pouring out mere sympathy towards the Kashmiri people is not the question.
“When article 370 was abrogated everybody who belongs to J&K felt like agitated, how this all can happen and how come the indigenous people don’t have a say when their future is being decided, that was the main reason people got agitated, on the very day in the evening there was a public talk, everyone was suggesting each other not to do anything untoward harm the image of Alma Mater which ultimately matters for the people of Aligarh much more than anything else. That was the first thing to do. After that people dispersed, as Kashmiri fraternity, we were thinking let us see how things unfold, how they are going to carry it out, two days prior to the abrogation everything was closed and in the night internet and communication means were blocked out. We were not in a position to know what to do. We wanted to know what will be the response from back home. Our protest was because we were worried for our families, for our parents, for our mothers, for our sisters, everybody out there in the valley, everybody was worried. Things kept on going, we were thinking we will be able to meet our families, the situation is like that. This continued, people were running out of money, those people who are having fellowships and stipends started to donate and help students who are not having money, you know these are the times August and September, when students have to pay their fees for the next semester, that was the main issue and that was to be taken care of. This may be done intentionally. About the time of the abrogation, if we go back to two uprisings, of 2010 or 2014, you will notice one thing very common when it comes to the harvesting season of apple, the protests go down, the timing was made so calculatedly in the month of August, by the end of September the harvesting of apple starts, and people have to move for work, that will break their morale, they will not go for the work, there won’t be no money at home, there will be no good for the economy. Ultimately they will sacrifice the apple for 370, for that matter the larger cause, self determination. They have to sacrifice on their economy. That is a big question for Kashmiris because solely the rural population depends upon that.
Our last protest was not against the abrogation of 370. These times administration can’t ….you very much. Everybody says there is pressure, there is pressure, from ministry to bureaucracy, to vice chancellor, ultimately the whole pressure comes to the one suffering at back home, who can’t even protest now. This is absurd. In a democracy a decision is taken for us, which can affect only us nobody else in the country, we are going to get affected. We are not that naive to see things as “positive/negative”, no that doesn’t matter, what matters is our say in this decision. If this is positive we will vote for it, the thing is that we are not taken in to consideration. They are making the opinion of these people irrelevant. The question is you are not allowing the people who are living there to speak for themselves and decide on what is good for them. You are imposing something upon them telling that this is good for them. People are not going to take it so easily. Ultimately you want to crash people, down their morale against heavy military might, against all which are going on in Kashmir. Our silent protest was because Kashmiris all over Indian universities are not being able to talk to their families, we are not having the news of what is going on there, may be there is some emergency we don’t have any knowledge of anything. One runs out of money where should one go for money? Most people avoid the situation to ask someone for money, keep on sacrificing everything, takes meals only once a day, this happens in our university. We won’t say only Kashmiris are helping, people from india are helping, there are people who care for humanity. People from Delhi, people from UP comes forward asking if you need any help, but, we don’t want sympathy. Sympathy is not the question here. you can’t provide wheat for ten days to a farmer who is at the verge of suicide and tell him we are sympathizing you, you have to make means for situation where he will survive by himself. Something that lasts long. Who in this planet doesn’t want peace? May be there would be people who don’t want peace. But we have seen enough of these, killings, dead bodies, murders, rapes, I think people from this part of the country don’t know much about these problems as we do. They don’t know how much painful it is to see dead bodies every day, how much painful it is to see our mothers and sisters being raped, and in news they write ‘alleged rape’ then some committee is formed and it takes years to prove that but nobody proves anything. We want freedom from all these. This is mental chaos. We need freedom from this. We can’t work freely as much anyone else in this country works, we can’t study peacefully, we have thousand thoughts in the subconscious about what is awaiting us. We don’t see any hope as of now.
Response from india,
When a government is successful in bringing out such harsh decision of turning out of a population of 8 million in to a jail, there is a minute population who does have a conscience and speak but the majority of population’s conscience win, they wanted this. Whatever is the collateral damage, go for it and they are happy. Government has a problem only if majority of the population is aware of the things and what the government is doing now is through media they are propagating fake news and pro state narratives, they are bringing out narratives like now you can do this in Kashmir, you can do that in Kashmir, it is not that easy, you can’t come from somewhere, buy land and do something. It is not as much easy as people thinks. It will be a bad investment decision as far as I know my land and I know the conditions we live in. it will be a very bad investment decision. The conscience of whole population gets fulfilled, that’s why the government is successful. They are responsible for whatever is happening to us, for every single wound on our body, every single drop of our blood. They are responsible for this. They are cheering, but there are people though minor who understands, we hope the population grows in numbers and ideas as well. Through the protests they are demanding the population be freed, clamp down should be lifted. We have been projected as villains. But the reality is not that.
What has become the national question of the majority cult is what about the Kashmiri pandits? We were not responsible for that. If you are that much concerned about Kashmiri pundits then bring out a fair enquiry, hang whoever is responsible, be that a leader, be that a separatist leader, there were killings. We also feel like that is a conspiracy we don’t know by whom, bring out a fair enquiry, which was never done. You want rehabilitation of Kashmiri pundits, it is not like we don’t want. It is their land too. It is their mother land. It is too much painful that they had to leave the land twenty years back. The newer generation of Kashmiri pundits may not be knowing the pain but their parents who had left the place know how the vacuum is yet to be filled, we also want them back, but we do not want them back the way this government wants them back, within separate colonies. This is what Israel does in Palestine, marking the areas, that’s settler colonialism, we don’t want segregated population, that will create a more long lasting problem and that will be more dreadful than this. Kashmir had never been communal, except that unfortunate blot of 1990, the exodus of Kashmiri pundits. If you are questioning every time what happened to Kashmiri pundits, what happened to Muslims of Jammu in 1947? In government records there are three lakhs of Muslims who were killed. But people knows that more than five lakhs of Muslims were killed. If Muslims keep of ranting about what happened to Muslims that means fighting forever? No. What happened has happened. Larger public of india doesn’t know this.
Now who will carry this news to a large population? People say the media houses are sold out, I don’t think they are sold out. Basically they are not ‘sold out’, they are employed by the state. If someone has to carry an agenda the person open his/her own media outlet, they are not sold out, they are like that always. There are media houses which are openly happy for these things happening. They keep on saying you are a part of us, you are a part of us. You shouldn’t be happy if one part of you is suffering. You shouldn’t be happy when Kashmir is bleeding. At least constitutionally this is a democracy. What makes a democracy democratic is how much the people are aware and how much their conscience is alive. If there is no accountability there is no democracy. Democracy doesn’t mean that people are voting to their prime minister or parliament. In a democracy everyone should be accountable before law. But these are manipulated forms of democracy we are seeing. It is not only in India, this is going global now. Everyone is affected.
People say there is recession, data is being manipulated, they are inflating the data so that they can show a good picture of the economy, there are people especially from the liberal class and left liberal class, this issue is to dodge the real issue of economy, but I want to question these left liberals and liberal class that are your conscience still alive that you are not questioning what happened? Lives of eight million people are at stake, this has been time and again. There is a political break down, any election problem in Uttarpradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, they are bringing it on to Kashmir, why are we paying the price for their fault? The left liberals are playing a catalyst role to the state’s narrative. They are normalizing the problem, that is an issue for us. people who are well read and actively debating do things are behaving this there is nothing to expect from those who are not well read. Who from the Indian public will ask why our constitutional procedures are bypassed? It is an issue for everyone, not just for people from J&K. today this is done to Kashmir, tomorrow this would be done to any other state. NRC happened to Assam, now random people like Haryana chief minister started demanding NRC.
I got three calls from home, first call was on 17th of August, 12 days after august 5th. My mother stood in the queue for three long hours at district commissioner’s office in my district. When I picked up the phone, they said “hello… we are fine, are you fine?” I said “I am fine”, my mother asked, “are you having enough money?” I said “yes, I can do it myself and don’t worry,” I asked “is everything back home okay?” she said “okay” then the person from behind, back from the phone I heard them saying “time’s up, time’s up, time is up.”
Army is continuing their torture on our people. We know that it is happening there irrespective of someone coming to us telling that. Current scenario is developed in to something where if you say torture is happening they will ask why you blaming the army. The torture is been happening in the past and we know it will be happening there. Recently there was a case from Pulwama I think, a boy of 16 years committed suicide, in fact he died. Nobody knows what had been done with him. That is the result in conflict. If you don’t have honest, fearless journalism, investigative journalism, when normal people call out and say this has happened, nobody cares, had there been investigative journalists who would have stood strongly, had there been journalism bodies who could be honest, where at least journalists not suffer much, here journalists are suffering they are also fearing to call things out. In fact photo journalists are the most vulnerable among the huge family of journalists, photo journalists are facing very much difficulties in areas mostly in Srinagar city and South Kashmir.
The psychological trauma is snow balling year by year. Those who are born in early nineties, like me and many like in my generation haven’t seen the normal life. Most of those who come from home say, “things are normal”. That normal is not this normal. That normal is conflict. Because the people of my generation thought when we were kids that life is like this. There is army, there is rebels, there is us. we never knew that there is this part of the world where we can go out in the night and have tea in the road side, we never knew that until we came to these universities, no after 10 pm we can also go out. The line has to be drawn what is normal for Kashmir can’t be normal for this part of the country. There is imposed normalcy, when Kashmiris say home is normal that means there is no major killing incident. But that doesn’t mean that the tension has been eased out. That doesn’t mean that people doesn’t want to come out to protest. That means people want to protest but they are not allowed to. Even if they go they will face bullets and there will be killings. This normalcy is an imposed normalcy.”

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