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My journey begin from home some 50Km away from destination. When a little light from shadowy was coming out, I went up to have some moments with Insha Mushtaq after she had passed 10th class exam. Insha-a girl on whom pellets were showered by the brave security forces of, world’s largest democracy during the 2016 uprising, just after three days when charismatic militant leader Burhan Wani was shot dead. Insha’s world vanished, around 350 pellets tried hard to make her future dark and hell in the valley of heaven. However, the attempt failed, failed miserably as she went on to Board Exams and passed it with meritorious marks. Nevertheless, 59.6% marks in Annual Regular 2017; in Matriculation is an achievement for a pellet victim girl, her tutors and her family. Insha became icon among the students, particularly among the common Kashmiri. She despite facing all odds, stood up and didn’t gave it up till she achieved her goal. The goal may not seem big for others but, yes… it is an achievement which means a lot for her.

My heart was pounding harder, on travelling to the volatile Shopain district and an excitement of, “seeing her, watching her activities for some moments”. As, our cab left from Shopain towards Insha’s home which is A remote village in South Kashmir’s Shopain district called, Sadow. The village is in the woods, the roadsides where snow covered in the month of January, along the road ARE tall trees of Deodar, Himalayan Blue Pine [Yaarii Kull in Kashmiri] and a verity of trees, a picturesque location.

On reaching her home, a two-storeyed house, whose front window is covered with polythene and the outer door has some four-five meters of cloth slung, but once you take it over to knock the door it is not just the entry of the house but the entry of the kitchen as well. As, I begin to get in, by saying, “Asalmu alikum, walikum salam came back”. In addition, we were asked to go up-stairs, the up-stairs made of wooden [an old type] I, was first among my team to open the door, and surprisingly I saw Insha, sitting in one corner, “mobile phone in her hands, I thought she might was listening something on it. As I put forth my first words as Asalmu Alikum, she put her cell in pocket and replied, walikum salam. Meanwhile my two comrades Gazi Muzamil and Dar Mudasir in one voice simultaneously said same words what I said, but they adds “Behan [sister].

Few minutes later, her father Mushtaq Ahmad came after completing his lunch and the introduction begin…

Mushtaq a truck driver, a heavy body man with little grey hair, broad face, pledged to fight for the education of his daughter until his last breath. A few minutes later two women’s came, looking happy on face but, it was not the happiness from heart. One having a bowl full of sweets in her hand, lost in her thoughts, I am the mother of Insha, “she said”. The other one having a kettle and cup in her two hands, I am maternal aunt [MAMIE] of Insha. “She is having her maternal home here in the same village, she added”. “Those who blinded Insha, Allah will not spare them, said Insha’s father”. It is happiness for me that my daughter had passed board exam with excellence, he added. When my comrade Gazi Muzamil who is also the Vice President of AJKSU told Insha about her further studies, she said, “I will study further, and will pursue Bachelors in Arts [BA] degree.

As, we were talking with her father I saw Insha looking outside toward the sunlight with her dark eyes and she was whispering in little voice “O khudia” O God. She was taking a long breath and releasing it … with Allah’s name. I found she is a well thoughtful girl having high dreams inside.

As, we completed our union formalities [All J&K Students Union-AJKSU], we went up to depart from their home, “Insha bhain hum chalta hain” Insha sister we are departing.

Insha replied “aap ko ab khana khakya jana chaya”. You must go after taking food, no… no… sister we will get late then.

Insha is spending all her time in a room at her residence in Sedow Shopain. She has not seen any light, color, moon and sun not even his beloved father’s face which she is now dreaming to see at least once since July 11, 2016. Now 20 months & at least 10 surgeries in both eyes at different places of India but, Insha’s world is still dark.

P.S:- Use of pellets in Kashmir has ruined hundreds of lives. Pellets were called as non-lethal, but it is absurd to call this weapon as non-lethal when is has caused huge damage and destruction among the Kashmiri’s. Pellets were came to light during 2010 uprising, to control the protesting crowd but, during that year it was not used much like it was used in 2016 uprising. The pellets blinded hundreds of Kashmiri’s, in 2016. So it is also called as, “year of dead eyes”.

Younus Rashid a student activist is presently Spokesperson of All J&K Students Union-AJKSU. Author’s views are his own)

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    This is one of the many poignant and heart – wrenching histories of pellet victims and the rulers are, ironically, still defending their actions