As the authorities lifted curfew in Kupwara and Handwara towns after days of demonstrations and subsequent killings, it seems that normalcy has returned to valley. But such arguments whose premises are laid on an ultra-myopic sense are themselves subjected to debate. What we mean by normalcy when the context is Kashmir specific.
Have Kashmir faced Handwara like situation for the first time. Have killing been done in Kashmir for the first time. It is not like that Kashmir saw it in zainakote it saw it in pulwaom, in Palhalan, in Sopore, in Veijbour, in Shopain in Chouhdhur, in Varmul, in Islambad, Bandpore, Kulgoam, Badgoam in every part of it and every bit of it, in the interiors and exteriors…everywhere. One can hardly find an area in Kashmir where blood is not spilled. The same spree was followed by the same myths of normalcy and everything was presumed to be normal devoid of identifying the brunt it was building.
The word normalcy and its obnoxious, abhorrent, disgust and continuous mortification in Kashmir is quite visible. Can things be normal when the barrel of gun is always pointing at you? Can things be normal when every Kashmiri is gazed as a suspect? Can things be normal when every phone call is tracked and traced? Can things be normal when even social media is subjected to scrutiny?
After the days of killings and curfew – and the subsequent restrictions laid by the occupational institutions – people seem to have finally moved on with their daily works and thus depicting normalcy. The mayhem of death was not an audient drama, but a reality of Kashmir which we have been facing since 90s or even before that.
Over the past three decades, especially during the 90s, Kashmir has been a witness to so many massacres. Then came 2008. There was a massive civilian uprising against the Indian occupation. Initially the authorities fired upon the peaceful demonstrations to silence the protesters. More than 60 civilians were killed. When India state saw things running out of their control, they imposed strict curfew. Things repeated in 2009 and 2010 (in 2010, 126 civilians were killed by Indian army and paramilitary forces).
So, such a situation of killings and curfew only reveal a persistent cycle of miseries that Kashmir seems to have got used to. The incidents of this kind are always followed by curfews and detention or house arrest of the resistance leaders. So in nutshell nothing – literally nothing; neither the attitude of the Indian state nor the counter strategies of the Kashmir’s resistance leadership – has really changed. Indian forces keep on killing our youth; the shameless Indian mainstream media keeps of defending their rapist and murderer forces. And on the other hand Kashmir’s pro-freedom leadership keep on issuing the statement of condemnation to further nurture their victimhood.
By Aadil Farooq
(Aadil Farooq is a research student at JNU. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)