Stories about Kashmiris

The Pulwama attack is more than a massacre – it’s an unfortunate reminder

The recent killing of 44 security personnel belonging to the Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) outside Srinagar has opened up a can of worms, and everyone should be bothered at this development. It’s not that this is the first time there has been an attack on Indian security forces in the valley, inflicting serious damage in terms of casualties. However, this attack is quite significant for the many issues it reveals, not necessarily for the lay person. The first and most important problem we need to confront is the attitude of the Indian state and its unofficial auxiliaries who have ...

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Shujaat Bukhari: The saner voice in a place where insanity prevails

On Thursday evening, barely a day before Eidul Fitr, senior and most respected journalist Shujaat Bukhari was killed just outside his office in Press Enclave, Srinagar. Bukhari was the editor-in-chief of English daily Rising Kashmir published from Srinagar I was not far away from where the incident occurred. I was in the newsroom, where I along with rest of the staff was working on Friday’s edition of our newspaper when we heard gunshots. Panic gripped us, but one of my colleagues mentioned that it couldn’t have been gunshots, Eid was nearing, and maybe kids were out playing with firecrackers. Thinking ...

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Will ‘Azaadi’ be able to aptly capture the dream of a free Kashmir?

The latest offering to come from Lollywood is Azaadi, which circles around the dream of a free Kashmir. Judging by the trailer, the movie is packed with action that will, perhaps to some extent, keep the viewers at the edge of their seats. The cast consists of Moammar Rana, the legendary Nadeem Baig, and young, talented television actresses such as Sonya Hussyn, Mariam Ansari and Erum Azam. Rana plays the role of Azaad, who leaves his home and family behind to become a freedom fighter in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK). While the story of the movie, including what compelled Azaad to take this ...

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#JusticeforAsifa: Has India discarded its moral compass?

What is at play in India today is a systematic dehumanisation of its Muslim community by the ruling establishment in Delhi. The ruling Hindu nationalist government, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has empowered extremist forces trying to further entrench the country’s religious fault lines. With the rise of Modi and his ilk, a political echo system has emerged in India, where Muslims are treated or looked at in the same way as Jews were seen by the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. The tragedy in Kathua is the by-product of that mindset. Located some 550 kilometres north of ...

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Pakistan celebrates Kashmir Solidarity Day but does it really want Kashmir to be independent?

The day, February 5th, is a national holiday in Pakistan every year – the Kashmir Solidarity Day. It is to remind the people of Pakistan and the world of Kashmir, of the promises made to the Kashmiri people, which remain to be fulfilled till today. It is to stand with a people whose recent history has been that of a brutal subjugation, one that has brought misery to its young and old.  It is to convey a collective support, to remind the Kashmiri people that the ensemble of nations might have turned a blind eye to some of the worst crimes ...

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Kashmir’s undying love for Pakistan is an unpalatable truth for India

We have seen numerous images of young Kashmiri lifeless bodies, wrapped in Pakistani flags, being lowered into graves by their old and fragile fathers. Such images are enough to give us an idea of how deep-rooted pro-Pakistan sentiment is in Indian-held Kashmir. Kashmiri civilians, mostly teenage boys, are hounded, tortured, arrested or even killed by government forces during anti-India protests and pro-azadi (freedom) rallies. This is a result of them raising passionate slogans in favour of Pakistan. Kashmiri boys and girls are seen chanting “jeeve jeeve, Pakistan” (long live, Pakistan) or “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans. A few have even set the Pakistani national anthem as a ringtone ...

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The media is relentless in its pursuit of exclusives, and Kashmir is always a good harvest

(Disclaimer: Graphic images below) Me: “So why don’t you start studying again?” Baba: “No, I can’t…” Me: “But why?” Baba: “It’s of no use; I have eight FIRs against me madam. The first one was registered when I was on my way to school. They picked me up, slapped me, let me off after three days. The second FIR was for illegal possession of weapons and the third…” Baba went on explaining the list of police cases against him as the car criss-crossed Srinagar with blaring music. Me: “Even then, you should at least complete your studies? Things will change…” Baba: “Even if I am able to resume my second year in ...

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Half Widow: Not Pakistan, not India, but the world through Kashmir’s eyes

Throughout history, cinema has functioned as a voice against oppression. Be it films such as Mississippi Burning or Fruitvale Station that highlight racism in the US’ past and present, or films such as Schindler’s List and Life is Beautiful which focus on the Holocaust and the oppression of Jews during World War II. The Battle of Algiers is yet another movie which focuses on the oppression of the Algerian people by the French, and their subsequent struggle for independence. Photo: Facebook Cinema has always played an important role in connecting the viewer with these moving stories. Kashmiri filmmaker Danish Renzu aims to do something similar with his latest film, Half ...

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An open letter to Indians

Dear Indians, As someone whose recent family history is very much a consequence of partition, I am no stranger to the divisiveness of Pak-India politics. Despite a shared history and culture, we stand today as two nuclear armed nations that have fought three wars against each other. Hatred for the other is fostered in both countries – neither India nor Pakistan is innocent as far as propagating hyper-nationalist aggression is concerned, but this time around, it feels slightly different. This time around, your government, sections of your media, and sections of your civil society (in concert with the government) are behaving in an exceptionally immature and dangerous manner. They ...

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The one chant that India has been unable to gag; “Hum kya chahtey… azaadi”

Kashmir is back to square one; the killing spree has begun once again and there seems to be no way out. After killing approximately 120 peaceful protesters in 2010, of which half were teenagers, this year, the Indian forces have not only begun a killing spree, but a blinding spree as well. With the help of lethal pellet guns, introduced to Kashmir through British expeditioners who used them for hunting, they forces have ended up blinding numerous individuals.   If you are not already aware, the intensity of a pellet gun is monstrous – one shot sends nearly 600 high velocity lead ball bearings. At ...

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