Once the synonym of paradise, Kashmir is no longer so. Now often described as the valley of grief and mourning, the Kashmir hardly witnesses a single day of respite from bloodshed. Grief-struck population especially youth yearn to have peaceful survival. To escape the situation and environment, where irrespective of their age, social status, and occupation etc their life is valueless and some mostly for aspirations of designing their career, they prefer to stay out-station. There may not be any part of the world where Kashmiri cannot be found with their number high in Indian states. However, In Indian states except few, they, torn, baffled, and caught in the quagmire of uncertainty about their future, could not heave a sigh of relief even after leaving their birthplace. Evading from gloom they straightly went to suffocation. In practice of getting away from harsh experiences, they receive much bitter at the end. Mental torture is replaced by physical one for no crime. Yes, all this happens with Kashmiri staying in India. Kashmiris constantly are facing repression, varying from intimidations, humiliation to name-calling and to physical torture.
Ceaselessly, we are having news about such incidents and out of misfortune from last few years, there has been a leap in their number. On the pretext of the Cricket match and subsequent celebration of Pakistan victory, cooking of meat, security reasons, and other unrealistic issues Kashmiris in general and students, in particular, are facing the wrath and suffer the deep sense of insecurity in India. Wherever they go, they most often never find smiling faces around them. Starting from boarding a train to reaching their destination, from the apartment (which they get after disgrace) to colleges, they always find themselves in the precarious state.
Security checking and frisking compose part of police duty but for Kashmiri ways and methods alter. Checking of bags, pockets and other stuff follows disassembling of cell phones. An individual doubt himself, forgets his belonging to a family, having dreams in their eyes for him instead of being the intelligence agent. During the journey, with people around him, he finds himself as an alien. Exceptionally if anyone talks to him, either it would be aimed at hurting, jeering or ridiculing him.
Sensible minds also exist; no doubt who talk sense but hare-brained mostly outnumber them. Once while travelling, a person with moving moustaches claimed to be retired police officer that became apparent in a jiffy when he made sweeping statement and said: Wahaan Par Itna Achaa Pani Hai, itnay achhay Kutey hai, Phir b azaadi maangtey ho, Humaray yehaan tou paisun mein kutey miltey hain (You have water there, (beautiful) dogs there, still you demand freedom, We here get dogs worth thousands). Some put forward Gowsami’s version and holding the nerve remains only way out. And in the market, the person feels mostly isolated not culturally but behaviorally. We were in the market, suddenly a shopkeeper called: Baya! (Brother), we approached nearer, pointing towards Television he said: Dekho aap kay logun nay kya kiya (See what your people did), what it was? “Peshawar school Attack”. In another incident, one of our colleagues had a beard and was called from behind, Oye Aatankwadi. Such happenings may be condonable, however; the impact they have on one’s psyche is inexpressible.
While many of the universities/ colleges provide the favorable environment, of which mine was the one, some fail to maintain the impartiality between locals and Kashmiris. Recently, Kashmiri students were roughed up serially within the campuses of many institutes like Jodhpur Vyas Institute, Mewar University etc. without any provocation. Haryana incident is latest one in a string of recent attacks on Kashmiri students, where the Kashmir students were beaten up by people while returning back to university premises for “no reason”. Police reach the spot every time but to do what a Kashmiri expects; i.e., covering up a misdemeanor. Till date, this hooliganism forced many Kashmiri to left their job, studies and in some cases, business. Others are surviving with their mouth shut, eyes closed and hearts dead with respect to surroundings that is not possible for everyone.
New Delhi based Human right groups have been vocal against it and they admit that Kashmiri students in India are victims of police harassment, humiliating searches, intimidations, demands of bribery by local policemen under a pretext of fighting terrorism. Nevertheless, it neither materializes for Centre nor for state administration. No serious effort has so far been made by the government in this regard. A condemnatory press statement appears, re-appears and it goes on and on.
It is understood stones are against your national interest but why then book and pen gets the violent reaction. We have laptops in hands, which you want to see, not stones that you hate. We quit violence-wrecked Kashmir not to incite violence in your state. We are here to study, not to carry out the terrorist attack. We carry bags of books not of ammunition. We are learners not debaters to respond your diatribes. We crave for peace not for street anger, why then exacerbation. And why then ‘we are under a cloud of suspicion” asks a student.
Zeeshan Rasool Khan hails from Seer Hamdan and writes on current socio-political issues and can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org