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Exclusive: Into the Minds of Kashmir’s Stone-Pelters

The youths talked about anger which makes them clash with security forces and about their dream of ‘Azaad Kashmir’.

Updated
India
2 min read

The Quint spoke to some stone-pelters in Kashmir. In a candid conversation, they talked about their anger which makes them clash with security forces. They also spoke about their dream of ‘Azaad Kashmir’.

According to sources in Intelligence, over 100 youth have joined militancy, which has become a cause of concern for the security forces. Sources also added that these youth are being trained in Shopian and Kulgam district of Kashmir.

Why do you pelt stones?

We want freedom from India. The Indian government persecutes us.

How does it persecute Kashmiris?

They pick up youth from the streets, throw them in jail, book them under any law. The youth are ruined for life and are not capable of doing any work after that. When we will have our freedom, we will be able to do what we want. We neither want to be a part of Pakistan nor stay with India. We want an independent Kashmir.

Where do you throw stones?

Wherever I get an opportunity.

Is anyone forcing you to do it?

Nobody is forcing me. I’m doing this because my needs are not getting met.

What are these needs?

There are no jobs. We are poor people who are ignored by the government. When we get independence and have our own government, we will have jobs. When we leave home, we are caught and beaten (by security force personnel). If we go out after 9pm, army men ask us for identification cards. We want freedom from all this. In Delhi, people can roam around freely at night, but we can’t do that. This has been the case for years.

Even then, why pelt stones with such intensity?

We only seek independence.

Do you follow the Hurriyat calendar? (Hurriyat releases a calendar every week which lists out the activities to be followed by the people of Kashmir.)

Yes

Why?

It tells us what to do. Otherwise, people won’t hold protests together. If they don’t organise us, people will stop agitating.

Do you trust the Hurriyat?

Yes. But I trust God first, and then myself

But the protests are causing tension and inconveniencing women and children?

This is not the first time that there have been protests. They happen almost every year.

Who is backing you?

Nobody is backing us. We are our own ‘back-up’.

We have heard that money is being given?

Nobody has given me money. I’m fighting for my rights. If I die, I will die fighting for my rights and become a martyr.

How many people support your cause?

The whole of Kashmir supports us. It’s not like we love Pakistan. We don’t want any outside government here. If Pakistan occupies Kashmir, it will persecute us too. We only want freedom.

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