Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim
Video Producer: Hera Khan
5 August 2019 will go down in the pages of Indian history as a day to celebrate or a day to mourn. Home Minister Amit Shah, armed with President Ramnath Kovind’s signature of consent, has effectively revoked Article 370 that had granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Furthermore, Shah also moved a Bill to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories – J&K being one and Ladhak as the other.
From hashtags that hailed Modi-Shah for doing the impossible to intellectuals calling out the sinister precedence this order has set: There just isn’t any middle ground on it.
What about the people of the Valley? What do they think about this, given that it is literally about their lives.
They are silent, of course, or rather silenced given the complete communication blackout imposed by the government on the Valley since last night.
But there are Kashmiris outside the Valley too.
‘I Have a Lot to Say, But What’s the Point?’
“The last thing my mother told me was to stay safe and not worry about them. But how can I not worry when I don’t know how they are, in what state?” shares Rumela* (name changed to protect identity), who works at a cafe in the capital.
Rumela shares how a bunch of Kashmiri Muslim students and young professionals across the country are ready to leave the safety of mainland India, and travel back to the Valley, even though they are well aware of the uncertainty that awaits them.
“Personally, I don’t want to go back. I have worked so hard to achieve some economic independence and empowerment as a woman. But after last night and this morning, all I want to do is see my family, no matter what. We are not even sure if after landing in Srinagar we can even make it home.”Rumela
When asked why she doesn’t use her resources to raise awareness, she adds, ‘there is no point anymore.’
‘Something Has Changed Since Yesterday’
Huma*, a final year MTech student from a Delhi-based university had left the Valley in 2015, her first stop being Punjab, where she was welcomed and loved.
But things started to change when she moved to the capital. Her plan was to take a gap year, earn some experience before applying to a foreign university. But that changed yesterday.
There were times when she did doubt if all the hare and slander was just part of her imagination and everything was merry. She is sure the current atmosphere is not a figment of her imagination.
WhatsApp messages and friendly forwards from non-Kashmiris congratulating Huma* over the scrapping of Article 370 is the least of her worries.
“I don’t feel the same way when my family is in an information Black Out.”
A sentiment freelance content producer, Rakheel Khan agrees as well.
‘How Will My Family Reach Me If There’s a Medical Emergency?’
Raheel Khan has been trying all means to get into touch with his family back in the Valley. He knows of course it is in vain, but he can’t seem to rationalise his actions.
Not at least amid the fear, rumours and countless fake WhatsApp videos circulating online, claiming to be a ground situation in the Valley. Khan has read the news and watched the analysis, but no media seems to tell him the state of his family.