Archive for the ‘Right to Dissent’ Category

Co-Written by Meer Abass & Aurangzeb Arif

” to ask the victim what lies beneath the misery “

” They say , I was never a part of this world ‘

Ever been to lanes of mockery, then you find what it takes the decorum of disgrace. The infamous rape of a girl child by the demonic 50 year old beast has made me confused ,how to jot down the lines of my anger. I wish to write but it is choking my veins, I try to vent my tears, but they don’t profuse due to the shock. The temporal of sufi tagging to this land has become a notion of namesake only. People curse the technology and modernization for such disgrace ful activities , but within deep everyone knows these brutal structures of rape has a history of purchase from the time of legalized enslaved minds. What makes a old soul to rape a new bud, what tag of lust angle one will put for it, shall I call it a deprived sexual intimacy of old account beast , shall I call it conservative estimate of such doings , shall I call it manic depression episode , shall I call it bad luck of a girl child. I don’t know what to sum or what to put for it, but one thing is that history has been created in the hall of shame in this land. From provisions of Intifada to galore of unfurling islamic flag in this region, how many of we in actual are prepared for such law dominance here, presumably the laws of humanity doesn’t need an introduction for being a religious soul, it needs a simple orientation of mind analysis as what is the supreme goal of one’s soul. I imagine the burst of pain with which that girl child would be having psychologically and the abuse of social norms inflicted on her by the society in coming times. The rabid dog might be punished for such doing , but who will pay for the loss of such child’s life ? A society that gambles and watches porn in the lanes of their lonely planet, a society that rugs the shovels of phone sex and assumes the slogans of religious fervour in the morning.  Time has come to take a stand on child rapes where a male and female child is raped either on the pretext of exorcism by the saints of disgrace or by the beasts of such society. There is no difference between sex incest rape mongering activities and rest of india , where the only difference is , that in kashmir it is crept under the carpet and in rest of india it is raised in open. Introspection is needed for the good riddance of such manic insane beasts from the society.

The incident that sent shock waves across Kashmir came to light on Tuesday when a sopore minor girl narrated her harrowing experience to her family when she was raped by a “Shaitan Numa insaan “who is of his grandfather’s age. As per the complaint, the accused took the minor girl, a Class 8th student, in his Rickshaw and raped her.

Women in Kashmir too are not safe anywhere – at home, the workplace or on the streets. And this is despite the fact that incidents of violence against women regularly make the headlines now a days in newspapers, especially since the brutal gang rape of Asiya and Nelofar.
Rape is completely forbidden in Islamic law and is a crime punishable by death
In Islam, capital punishment is reserved for the most extreme crimes: those that harm individual victims or destabilize society. Rape falls into both categories. Islam takes very seriously the honor and protection of women, and the Quran repeatedly reminds men to treat women with kindness and fairness.

Some people confuse Islamic law by equating rape with sex outside of marriage, which is instead adultery or fornication. However, throughout Islamic history, some scholars have classified rape as a form of terrorism or a crime of violence (hiraba).

During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, a rapist was punished based on only the testimony of the victim. Wa’il ibn Hujr reported that a woman publicly identified a man who had raped her. The people caught the man and brought him to the Prophet Muhammad. He told the woman to go—that she was not to be blamed—and ordered that the man be put to death.

At a time when every politician, no matter what colour, is crying foul, every judge and lawyer, no matter what their loyalties, is joining the chorus, every policeperson, no matter from where, is adding his/her voice, it is worth remembering some key things. First, more than 90 per cent of rapes are committed by people known to the victim/survivor, a staggering number of rapists are family members. When we demand the death penalty, do we mean therefore that we should kill large numbers of uncles, fathers, brothers, husbands, neighbours? How many of us would even report cases of rape then? What we’re seeing now — the slow, painful increase in even reports being filed — will all disappear. Second, the death penalty has never been a deterrent against anything — where, for example, is the evidence that death penalties have reduced the incidence of murders? Quite apart from the fact that the State should never be given the right to take life, there is an argument to be made that imposing the death penalty will further reduce the rate of conviction, as no judge will award it.

It is important to raise our collective voice against rape. But rape is not something that occurs by itself. It is part of the continuing and embedded violence in society that targets women on a daily basis. Let’s raise our voices against such violence and let’s ask ourselves how we, in our daily actions, in our thoughts, contribute to this, rather than assume that the solution lies with someone else. Let’s ask ourselves how we, our society, we as people, create and sustain the mindset that leads to rape, how we make our men so violent, how we insult our women so regularly, let’s ask ourselves how privilege creates violence.

It is important we raise our collective voice for women, but let’s raise it for all women, let’s raise it so that no woman, no matter that she be poor, rich, urban, rural, Muslim, Hindu, or whatever, ever, in the future, has to face sexual violence, and no man assumes that because of the system and people’s mindsets, he can simply get away with it. And let’s raise it also for men, for transgenders, for the poor.

Meer Abass, Assistant professor, Govt Degree College Handwara

Aurangzeb Arif, Freelance writer.

Representational Image

April 12

Shabir Khan

Amid a moderate voter turn-out in North of Kashmir that went to polls in the first phase of Lok Sabha Polls, the Hajin township saw empty polling booths, armed men in riot gears, deserted streets.

 

In Hajin township of Bandipora, Sources said, Out of 1800 votes, only 02 votes were polled in 03 polling stations, while in Sopore’s Brath Kalan which a home to 6 Local Militants, no vote was polled at all.

The family of Mudasir Rashid Parray alias Mudasir Billa in Hajin area in Hajin town in Bandipora choose to stay indoors and avoid the public glare. “We did not want to see people deceiving the blood of Mudasir, his teenage blood still is on the ground, how can they vote,” his father told The Kashmiriyat.

“We did not want people to run over the blood of our son, who sacrificed his life for the people of Kashmir, he was young, he was hopeful and had dreams, ours ended with him,” his father said.

Mudasir’s Family lives in a single room with heart patient mother Fareeda, father is a chronic patient, handicapped brother and a little sister. Fareeda his mother, is still in grief and Shock that her son has been killed.

“Mudasir was not my son only, but a hope, Lone bread earner who would also work as a labourer on part time basis to help the family financially as my another son is handicapped,” Fareeda told The Kashmiriyat.

On 5th December last year, a daunting picture went Viral on Social Media in which 14 year old Cute Boy holding an AK-47 in one hand and and Knife in another. Mudasir a resident of Khankah Mohalla of Hajin town along with 16 year old Saqib Bilal had gone missing from home on 31 August this year after an encounter took place in Hajin town in which three Foreign Militants were Killed.

Five days after his picture went on social media holding with AK- 47, Mudasir Billa, who was the youngest Militant in he history of Armed struggle in Jammu Kashmir was killed during an encounter in Mujgund belt of Srinagar on a cold December night last year.

Fareeda while wailing said “Doudh haa cheey wyn praaczan lour’uy, waey, Baa karay ghoor ghooro. The milk is still on your lips, Let me cradle you, You are still to drink my milk, Let me cradle you.”

His sister, Maimoona in corner of his single room broke into tears, said that she was so happy that Mudasir will afford all her expenses and will fulfill her all dreams as her another brother is handicapped, but all dreams crashed the day Mudasir’s bullet ridden body reached her courtyard.

Mudasir was first arrested during during 2016 unrest in a Stone Pelting case and was lodged in a police station Hajin for over a week, he was later released after counselling. Mudasir, as per locals, joined Militant ranks after the killing of their close relative Abid Mir in Sopore who was killed in an encounter.

Here in Hajin, elections are being seen as a farce process, “They come and take votes from us, do nothing, and in a larger context, India is selling these votes as votes against the popular Freedom movement,” Abdul Rashid Bhat told The Kashmiriyat as he looked towards the gate of the an empty election booth.

Hajin township in North Kashmir, Out of 1800 votes, only 02 votes were polled in 03 polling stations during the first phase of seven phased Lok Sabha Election, though no protest was reported from the area, but people stayed indoors and choose to  stay away from what they call “Bogus” elections.

In Tangmarg, Baramulla District, the mood is different, people are lining up outside the polling stations hiding their faces from cameras, which Abdu Rashid Shah, a local teacher believes is an element of shame attached to voting in Kashmir. “People hiding their faces from media and cameras says it all, they know it is shameful to vote here,” he thinks.

However, Ghulam Nabi Dar, a local shopper, who is a retired teacher feels otherwise, he feels it is unfair to link elections to Azadi. “I am more ‘Azadi Pasand’ than Hurriyat, but voting is for something else, Do i vote against Azadi? Logically.! No… There is no Azadi button on that voting machine, which i do not choose,” he says, adding that, narratives cannot be forced.

”we need to have a space for dialogue and various narratives and if we want to enforce our narratives on everyone, then i feel we are better off with India, because that is what is happening in India, popular narrative is thee only acceptable narrative, if we need freedom, we need to give freedom,” Abdul Rashid said while speaking to The Kashmiriyat.

Though the overall, voting percentage remained low, people did come out to vote defying the separatist calls, who remained low profile for the first during elections, in fact Militant leadership took a front on the boycott call. In Palhalan, 84 votes have been polled in 4 polling booths with total electorate of 3979 till 3 PM.

The overall voting percentage in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls 2019 in North Kashmir was recorded a total of 32 percent polling.

Journalist Aasif Sultan works with the Kashmir Narrator. His family claims he is under illegal detention.

Police Arrest Kashmir-Based Journalist, Family Claims He Is Under Illegal Detention
Journalist Aasif Sultan

The Jammu and Kashmir Police have arrested a journalist working with a Srinagar-based magazine.

Journalist Aasif Sultan, who works with the Kashmir Narrator, was picked up from his home in Batamaloo on Monday night allegedly for questioning. His family claims he is under illegal detention for past six days and the police has not released him since then.

Showkat A Motta, the editor of the magazine, rejected the police’s claim that they would keep him in detention for a day and release him in the evening.

Tariq Ali Mir, Sultan’s colleague, posted took to Facebook and said the police questioned Aasif for his cover story in the previous issue of the magazine on slain militant commander Burhan Wani and his ideology. Tariq added that the police also took away Sultan’s laptop, cell phones and other documents during the raid. He said the Kashmir Narrator has taken up the issue with international media watchdogs such as the IFJ and the CPJ.

The Kashmir Working Journalist Association (KWJA) and the Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) demanded disciplinary and legal action against police officials for violation of the fundamental rights of an individual through prolonged illegal detention.

“We demand his immediate release from illegal custody and action against police officials in charge of the station and SP of South Srinagar for keeping a journalist under illegal detention for a week,” a joint press statement of the journalist bodies said.

“We have learnt that Sultan is being questioned for his report on Wani, published in a recent issue of Kashmir Narrator, along with other stories and has been asked to report his sources to police”,  the journalist bodies said.

Motta said the police have been delaying Sultan’s release through hollow assurances. He claimed South Srinagar’s Superintendent of Police GV Sundeep Chakravarthy questioned Sultan about his “political ideology”.

When contacted by Outlook, Chakravarthy said the journalist was called for questioning for past six days. He said the police would call him in the morning and release him in the evening. 

He also said the police found evidence of Sultan being involved in unlawful activities. He was presented before the court and later sent to police custody. Chakravarthy, however, refused to reveal details about the “unlawful activities”.

“It is no secret that police and intelligence agencies have been trying their best to police the media in Kashmir, and harassing the media organisations and journalists has been a routine, but we want to make it clear that the journalist fraternity will fight such efforts tooth and nail,” the joint statement said.

“We are seeking release of Sultan at an earliest and ask the government and police chief to explain the laws and rules under which he has been kept in lockup for the past six days.”

Every year, the world commemorates the victims of Haymarket affair that took place on Tuesday, May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago, by observing May 1st as International Workers’ Day in their memory; albeit in Canada & US, 1st September is chosen as Workers’ Day. On that fateful day, the workers had gathered peacefully to demonstrate & advocate for better working conditions. But, how many in the world know that Haymarket affair was not the first labour agitation against the exploitation of working class in the labour history of the world. Setting the records correct, it was precisely 29th April, 1865 when Kashmir’s weavers,  locally known as ‘Shawl Baufs’, had hit the streets of Srinagar in protest against the high taxes that were levied upon them by the Dogra despots. 1. Before coming to that tragic & fateful day in the labour history of the world, the appalling conditions under which the Kashmiri weavers & artisans worked would not be out of place to a mention. Under the Dogra rulers ‘system of taxation, the barest margin of subsistence was allowed to the Muslim Kashmiri workers. The production of silk, saffron, paper, tobacco, wine and salt was a State monopoly. An ad valorem duty of 85% was levied on all woolen manufacture. 2. Under these pitiable working conditions, the shawl weaver could, thus, hardly earn 7 or 8 chilki rupees per month, out of which he had to pay five chilkies as tax and had to live on remaining 2 or 3 chilkies, only  3., by buying singara (water chestnuts) for feeding his family. 4. The shawl weavers were allowed neither to leave Kashmir nor change their employment, so that they were nearly in the position of slaves. 5. There was fear with the Dogra ruler that migration by the weavers to other State would “reduce his revenue.” 6. But, still, thousands of shawl weavers, escaping cruel clutches of Dogra monarch’s frontier guards, had made their way to British Indian Punjab. 7. The weavers worked under the supervision of a most notorious taxation department of the Dogra rulers which was called Dagshalli that would arbitrarily collect exorbitant taxes for the tyrant ruler and regulate their work with factory owner or proprietor. In case, a weaver left the work, the Dagshalli through the Dogra soldiers would bring his wife, children & parents before them who would imprison them forthe weaver’s escape &, otherwise even, for his consequential failure to pay such exorbitant Dagshallitaxes to the ruler through the factory-owner. 8. The Dagshalli department was purchased by a wealthy Kashmiri Pandit, Raj Kak Dhar, under a contract with the Dogra ruler for rupees 20 lakhs. This had left Raj Kak Dhar entirely free to realise this amount through arbitrarily fixed tax rates of the ruler by employing brute force of Dogra soldiers. 9.

Now coming back to that sad day of Kashmir’s tragic history. The weavers on that fateful day of 29thApril, 1865 peacefully took out a procession that marched to the ground [maidan] of Zadagar, Srinagar, protesting against such break-breaking taxation, nominal wages, miserable working conditions & ban on migrating to neighbouring State of Punjab for comparatively better wages. Meanwhile, Raj Kak Dhar unnerved by the protest of the impoverished unarmed weavers misinformed Diwan of Dogra administration who immediately dispatched Dogra Army under the command of Col. Bije Singh who pushed the unarmed hungry multitude towards the narrow Haji Pather Bridge and in the stampede 28 poor unarmed weavers were drowned in the stream and scores injured. Next day the dead bodies were recovered from the stream and with a declared intention to seek the tyrant ruler’s justice, the dead bodies were paraded by the weavers and other Kashmiris, whose sympathy was naturally attracted by mayhem,    in a procession to place them before him. They were stopped by the Dogra army in the way & not allowed to proceed to meet the ruler. The organizers of the procession were arrested, tortured, jailed & even flogged. Among those incarcerated in Bahu Fort jail were Rasool Sheikh of Tanki Kadal,  Ali Pal, Abdul Qadus alias Qudoo Lala & Sona Shah who died due to the torture.  10. In the history of Kashmir liberation struggle, these unsung heroes of Kashmir are remembered as First Martyrs. 11.

Being also, the First Martyrs in the history of labour struggle of the world, they seem to have been forgotten by the State & the world, probably because the event had not taken place somewhere in Europe or America, but in a forgotten landlocked vale of Kashmir. Despite that, no one can doubt, those Kashmir weavers who laid their lives on 29th April, 1865 for sacred cause of seeking justice for labour class deserve to be remembered by all justice loving people of the world who fight for the rights of labour class with equal respect & honour as shown to the victims of Haymarket affair.

Footnotes:

  1. Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Islam, Rights, and the History of Kashmir, by Prof Mridu Rai, (2004) page 62
  2. Two Nations & Kashmir by Lord Birdwood (1956) page 31
  3. Geography of the State of J & K by Pandit Anand Koul Anand (1925) page 31
  4. Kashir by Dr GMD ( D Lit France) Vol 2, page 746
  5. The Abode of Snow by Andrew Wilson (1875) page 398; ibid page Kashir page 746
  6. Kashmir Papers, S N Gadru, (1973) page 68
  7. Kashmir a disputed legacy by Aliaster Lamb (1991) page 13; Ibid, Mridu Rai (4000 had fled the valley)
  8. Freedom Movement in Kashmir by Gh. Hassan Khan (2009) page 21
  9. Kashmiris-Fight-For-Freedom by M Y Saraf, ( 2009) vol 1, page 291
  10. Ibid; in 1920 & 1924 the Kashmir witnessed again bigger Srinagar Silk Factory Workers’ Agitations that brought to the surface the appalling conditions in which the workers were placed, J & K, Politics of identity & separatism by Rekha Chowdary ( 2015) page 20
  11. Comprehensive History of Kashmir Movement by Shabnum Qayoom ( 2014) vol 1, page 319

M J Aslam, Author, academician, storyteller & columnist, Presently, AVP (JKB).

 Kashmir is bleeding, under fire


 The incidents of beating Kashmiri students in different institutions in India have been spreading like an epidemic. Every second day or so one hears about the students being roughed up in one or the other institution, in buses, in trains and so on. In fact, even some elder people returning in their own vehicles with their families through Punjab and Haryana have been manhandled by the local Police.

Thanks to some biased media channels, Kashmiris were turned into real “demons”! They were first labelled paid “Stone Pelters” and subsequently labelled “Stone Pelting Pakistani Terrorists”! Every stone pelter in Kashmir was made out to be a paid Pakistani terrorist. Stone pelting became a new form of terrorism.

The world’s second largest Army was given the task of eliminating these “Stone Pelting Terrorists” and they have been doing an excellent job. They are now shooting these so called “terrorists”like pigeons and ducks! There is not a single day when one or the other young stone pelter is killed in cold blood.

Kashmir has been practically bleeding! The depth of the anti-Kashmiri feeling can be judged from the statements of the Army Chief. He wishes the stone pelters had guns in their hands so that he could deal with them in a way he prefers! As if presently they are dealing with them very leniently!

In contrast, General Hooda and General Panang have always been giving very constructive suggestions for solving the problem in Kashmir. Incidentally, there is no history of any stone pelting mob being dealt in a way Kashmiris are being dealt in any other part of the country. In fact, some of the mobs in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have indulged in the worst type of violence yet no one has opened fire on them!

This demonizing of Kashmiris with a Pakistani touch suits the promoters of Hindutva ideology perfectly and it would be a great help in ushering in the Hindu Rashtra, which has been S.Golwalkar’s dream! However, the realization of that dream may be far off but there is an urgent task which needs to be finalized at all costs. That is the creation of Hindutva frenzy for the next Parliament election which may even be preponed?

The last election was won by showing the utopian dream of “Vikas” (Development) which has miserably failed. All those big slogans of “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas” seem to have evaporated. Economy is in doldrums. On the day of the presentation of the budget in the Parliament, most of the markets crashed. Demonetization dealt a body blow to the poor people. It was topped up by GST and the digitization of the entire existence through the Aadhaar Card managed by the Silicon Valley in USA!

In view of this, the development slogans are not going to sell now. The only alternative is Karl Marx’s “Opium of the poor!” That is precisely the reason for the new Hindutva wave starting in Kasganj and many other places. The real show will begin with the starting of the construction of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya!

In a recent video, even a DG of the Police was shown swearing that he will take part in the construction of the temple regardless of the fact that the case is still pending before the Supreme Court of India. The additional boost will be clashes across the Line of Control in Kashmir. The so called “Surgical Strikes” which may go beyond the surgical form.

Colonel Noel Elli wrote an article in the Citizen, titled, “May Day May Day, India Adrift”. The excerpts from the article sum up everything, “I am not a sailor but when I peep out of the Porthole, all I see is beti jalao not bachao, bus jalao not chalao, dukan aur makan jalao not banao, if nothing else is left then burn tyres and effigies of all and sundry. Nothing seems to be hunky dory on this voyage on a ship called India”. “Which way is India going? We can cause mayhem and destruction for a movie or a baba. Hold a city to ransom for reservations. Ignite communal violence for beef, throw petrol bombs on trains and blame it on hurting public sentiment. If I put it the other way around, are we not hurting the national sentiment? It is time for an SOS!”

(Mayday-MaydayIndia-Adrift)

Well, coming to our State the irony is that it is the Kashmir based part of the BJP coalition government which has been made totally impotent by the bear hug of the 56 inch chest! At least they could protest vehemently for all these excesses! Forget healing, they are virtually giving a bleeding wound every day. They should have thrown their hat in the ring long time back. Probably, they feel they have crossed the “Ghar Wapsi” threshold! In that case, God help them!

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/4/12956/Stop-Demonizing-Kashmiris

Raped women in Kashmir have experienced transmutation of suffering — from “victims” to “survivors” to “martyrs” to the cause. These women have pursued lengthy protracted cases in court with no real visible outcome in terms of a judgment. But with their will and drive for justice, they are ensuring that a new generation doesn’t forget. Then there are also women who have been active participants on the streets, Freny Manecksha, the author Of Behold, I Shine, tells Riyaz Wani
me (2)Raped women in  have experienced transmutation of suffering — from “victims” to “survivors” to “martyrs” to the cause. These women have pursued lengthy protracted cases in court with no real visible outcome in terms of a judgment. But with their will and drive for justice, they are ensuring that a new generation doesn’t forget. Then there are also women who have been active participants on the streets, Freny Manecksha, the author Of Behold, I Shine, tells Riyaz Wani

Edited Excerpts from the  •

How do you see the role of women in the resistance and the struggle for Azadi? Has acknowledgment of their contribution been largely rhetorical? What is your book’s aim?

Among the first persons that I met in  was Parveena Ahangar and I learnt of the silent sit-ins at Pratap Chowk every month by men and women demanding state accountability for enforced disappearances. It was my first introduction to the very important role of memorialisation and the way women in  have transmuted their suffering and turned it into a tool against the state’s consistent bid to erase history. This transmutation of suffering into resistance is manifested in many ways, not just by members of the Association of Parents for Disappeared Persons (both groups the one led by Parveena Ahangar and also the one led by Parvez Imroze) but also those women whose husbands/sons have suffered custodial deaths, those who suffered sexual violence at the hands of policemen or militarised personnel and so on. These women have pursued lengthy protracted cases in court with no real visible outcome in terms of a judgment. But with their will and drive for justice that is almost like a “divine mission” they are ensuring that a new generation doesn’t forget.

Then there are also women who have been active participants on the streets. From Zamrud Habib I learnt of their role in the nineties when they would hurl kangris near security camps and protest when the young boys were taken away and of the numerous ways they provided support. In fact the women are still out there. Besides the image of the young college girl giving the finger to the armed forces that went viral, there, are also powerful accounts of women who lay down on the streets in 2016, in an attempt to block the path of Surakshaks (armoured vehicles) from carting away the boys. It was partly to record the role of these “unsung” proponents of azadi that I wrote the book.

In the media and the political space, the conflict in  has largely been articulated by the men. Does women’s articulation nuance this narrative? Does Azadi mean the same thing to Kashmiri women too?

Women’s accounts certainly nuance the narratives. They bring in all the variations and types of violence that has been inflicted on society by occupation and how it is then compounded by patriarchal norms. It is the women journalists and writers who have spoken about the horrific impact of violence on children. They have explored the innumerable ways people’s privacy and dignity is deliberately violated with crackdowns and search operations. I just read an account of how soldiers had once deliberately hung bras and panties of a young woman in the room they searched because she had been outspoken.

And, I am now hearing accounts of the huge surveillance in border towns where not only do you have huge towering checkposts but men with power binoculars. I learnt how toilets were swiftly constructed inside the homes in the nineties because women did not dare to go outside for nature’s call unless it was really dark. In many parts of  they are now employing drones.

Women’s voices articulate all these concerns and in addition they also speak out against the way society reacted to victims of sexual violence, of how widows and half widows were treated. Some young women are now speaking of intersectionality_ of how one must talk about the oppression of an occupation but the necessity as well to also counter oppression of patriarchy. I guess it is the women who are trying to expand the concept of azadi, of what freedom means even as there are some radical forces that are seeking to lay down diktats.

Why in your opinion is national media so indifferent to the complexities of the situation in  and determined to project everything in black and white?

When I was researching for the book I found that the conflict in the nineties was covered by the nationalist media with some amount of sensitivity and sense of balance, or at least compared to the coverage today. I am not sure how and when the complete reversal of truth came about but it probably has to do with the increasing hardening of the state, the current geo political climate and Islamophobia. Over the past few years the electronic media has completely demonized the Kashmiris and is also manufacturing so many myths and fiction. Imagine talking about the love lives of militants! And, not based on any real recordings of people. In a sense this kind of crazy coverage and criminalising people is being extended to all forms of dissent even in .

In past also, you have written extensively about the women in , their trialsand tribulations. For example, you have reported on the mass  in Kunan Poshpora and in your conversations with the people you have noticed that they no longer talk about the raped women in terms of stigma but see them as martyrs to the cause. This is such a leap of faith in a conservative patriarchal society.

I was in  and attended the first hearing in court in 2013 when the asking for opening of the probe in the Kunan-Poshpora case was admitted and I have been following the case ever since. The trajectory from victims to resistance fighters is indeed remarkable. What is equally significant is that this was facilitated by a new generation of young women and the legal team that wants to emphasise that a crime never dies and must not be forgotten. The case is now stuck in the  but there have been some significant outcomes of the struggle for justice. The book “Do you remember Kunan-Poshpora?” is an outcome and it lays bare the ways the state sought to cover up the case — the mysterious ways early medico legal reports by the Block Medical Officer went missing, the bold statements of former District Commissioner S M Yasin and so on. I think this really shows the transmutation of suffering. Of how “victims” can forcibly prove they are “survivors” and yes then “martyrs” to the cause.

Behold I Shine Cover final (LRS) (2)Since you have travelled across the Valley to interact with the women and child victims of the ongoing conflict, what sense did you get of the suffering in the Valley. How endemic is it?

I returned to the Valley earlier this year after the 2016 uprising. I am just so overwhelmed by the horrendous violence that is almost endemic. How does one justify the deliberate targeting of protesting youths with pellet guns? In the month of August alone this year, there are at least 35 youths who have received serious pellet injuries. A senior eye surgeon speaking to the press told of how 16-year-old Sahil Hamid, son of a labourer, in Shopian received perforations through and through in the eyes leaving him totally blind. Is this standard operating procedure? In Kellar a 13-year-old received injuries. Ellen Barry former correspondent of the New York Times wrote last year of “an epidemic of dead eyes.” That epidemic is still raging. Just now I am reading about Shahid Mir, 19, of Handwara whose body with horrendous wounds and a scarred face was handed to his shocked parents. The army claims he was killed and he was a militant, his parents point out he was a student who was picked up by an army convoy. Such horrendous violence is unconscionable.

http://www.tehelka.com/2017/09/women-play-crucial-role-in-jk-struggle/