Continuing Attacks on Kashmiris Remind Me of My Friend’s Fears
The unfortunate incidents against Kashmiris made me recount a conversation I had with a classmate from Kashmir.
Several cases of harassment on Kashmiri students made news in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack on 14 February. On 6 March, two Kashmiri dry-fruit sellers were thrashed in Lucknow.
The unfortunate incident made me recount a conversation I had with a fellow classmate from Kashmir. I stayed at the campus hostel in Jaipur, and he lived in a rented room in a nearby village. He came to Jaipur in 2016 for his Bachelor’s. I barely saw him in class. An introvert, he was always ready to discuss the issue of Kashmir and its politics.
When news was abuzz about the attacks on Kashmiris, he was called by the college authorities, but our Kashmiri friend was on leave that day. The call for him made me restless, so I approached the faculties to ask what had happened.
My classmate had locked himself in a room as he was scared of mob attacks in the face of mounting anger after the Pulwama attack. He had requested the college to provide him security. I was worried for him, and started contacting him, but his number was off. I was finally able to reach him through Instagram. I was relieved after hearing that he was okay, but scared nonetheless. Then, we started talking further and I had lots of questions in my mind. Here’s how the conversation went.
What are you scared of?
I am scared of mob attacks and harassment from the locals. We have even been scolded and halted by them 2 or 3 times after the Pulwama attack. I remember we stepped out of our room after six days.
Have you ever felt so insecure before?
This happens often in Kashmir. While I understand the heavy number of casualties, it is the first time that Kashmiris are being harassed altogether around the whole nation. In the past, these attacks were localised, like in 2014 during an India-Pakistan match. But this time, it is happening everywhere around the country.
Have you ever faced any problems out of Kashmir?
I had experienced this for the first time, but it happens in some states like UP or Rajasthan, even cities like Chandigarh, so I have heard.
Did you have support from others during this time?
Not much, but yes, my college granted me leave while my fellow Kashmiris struggled.
You had taken a leave during those days, is it because you don’t feel safe anymore?
We are not safe even in Kashmir, but at least “Khud ke ghar mein rehne ka itminaan mil jaata hai (There is a sense of relief in staying at my own home)”.
Kashmir is your home and still there is no safety?
I had once told you about an incident. When I was beaten ruthlessly. That’s what every Kashmiri is facing for a long time. Think about why Kashmiri youth are joining the militant ranks. Read about how Burhan Wani, Manan Wani joined militant groups, they were suffering from similar atrocities.
What do you think should be the way forward?
For the people who are suffering, I believe, they should have the right to choose what Kashmir’s fate should be, not the government and the administrators sitting in their AC rooms in metro cities. Political issues exist between India and Pakistan, but Kashmir is made the punching bag.
In your opinion, has social media made things worse?
Yes, social media has affected the youth a lot. It has made them more aware and even aggressive. A lot of propaganda is spread through these channels, but social media is not the only cause, it’s the atrocities the youth is facing.
There was nothing I could say in response to his condition.
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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