confilct, kashmir, militancy pota, militants, truestory

The night that was!!!!

The days were longer, spring was in bloom. Early morning birds were seen chirping on the trees, window panes; anywhere they would find comfort calling their loved ones. A perfect spring was on. I usually would wake up to this sound coming in from the veranda and window pane that was on the other side of the room.

11 July 2002 a day to remember! The day when I cried bitterly, mum & dad trembled with fear and the horrific thoughts came to my mind that sent shivers down my spine. Everything was so normal till the sun went its way to greet the other side of the planet.

In the morning I had my breakfast; dad dressed me up in my school uniform of blue & white, with a green and white striped tie round my neck, oiled my hair. Mum prepared tiffin as usual & my brother packed it in our bag. With dad tying, my shoe laces & brother waiting for me at the gate shouting “come on we’re getting late. The bus won’t wait”.

Off I ran with Mom & Dad bidding us” Neriv Kermav Khudayas Hawaale’”

We boarded the state-owned road transport (SRTC) bus which our school had hired for the purpose and were soon on our way to school. My friends greeted me and we were lost in our talk laughing, mocking at each other. In about 60 minutes the bus passed through the posh lanes of the city & we realised we had reached our destination! With the big board in green and white displaying the words “know thy self”   inscribed on it. Many of us would never give a second look to the words that contained such a deep meaning for all of us.

We rushed out of the bus into the classroom. The usual HI’s & hellos followed the entry of our class teacher who in her usual authoritative tone instructed us to queue up for our morning assembly.  Assemblies were fun as well as boring, passing comments while hiding from the eyes of our teachers added an element of excitement. The boring part being the daily routine of hearing lectures regarding dos & don’ts (which today I feel has helped me in many ways to develop as an individual). The session that day started as usual with the morning drill followed the prayer and random speeches by students. In the meantime we were checked for the uniform and cleanliness. The morning session ended with the thought of the day and we hurried back to our respective classrooms for attending the lectures

The day went on, with the lunch break in between. I had lunch with my brother as usual. I was slow with the food & thus most of my tiffin would usually find the inside of the garbage bin.

By 3:30 the school was off and we rushed to our respective school busses. Around 4:30-4:45, we were looking upon the familiar iron gate of our home.

Both my parents were in job so we had to look for the items of refreshment ourselves. We found tea with all ingredients mixed by mum, all we needed to do was to warm it up. My brother being elder to me did most of the work;

After revitalising ourselves, we decided to play cricket in our garden. Every day I would hope that today fortunes would favour me & I’d grab victory from my brother but even that day I returned disappointed.

At around 6, both Mum & Dad returned home. My mother always brought something for me on her return a wafer, a chocolate, or a packet of chips. I enjoyed the extra care shown to me and thought of it as a compensation of my continuously losing the matches to my brother. She offered her prayers she sat by my side to help me with my home assignment. Mothers are multitalented somehow; God has given them the ability to do multiple things simultaneously. Similar was the case with my mum handling my homework along with preparing for dinner.

My handwriting would always earn me a scorn from my mother & a note from my teacher “improve your handwriting”. On the other hand my brother would do his homework with ease with little or no help which often made me jealous.

Dad was always busy with office work. I used to wonder why the office people gave him so much work. After all a home is supposed to be a place to rest and relax. These questions always played in my mind but I didn’t dare ask him. That day also I saw dad carrying a big bunch of files with him & he went along with his work after brief refreshment

I completed my homework &  mum asked me to learn the days assignment and that she’d would ask me questions about it later, and assured me that once It was done I’d be free to play carom or watch TV or whatsoever I wanted to do.

Dad always prayed isha namaz at home as it wasn’t considered safe to venture outside in the dark, so people didn’t leave their homes after magrib prayers, main reason being the armed conflict that raged between militants & Indian forces. We would close the main gate after magrib namaz

When Dad finished his paperwork we would have dinner and then both mum & dad would offer namaz; after which we would go to sleep. It was a routine; but that day after we finished eating-mom started washing dishes, dad walked to another room to pray. My elder brother went out to throw the leftovers from dinner in the dustbin where he heard some noise. Immediately he rushed in as said to my mother “zan khot kus taen dewaare kin” (I feel as if someone climbed of the wall). I immediately muted the TV. Mom told us not to worry as it may be a stray dog that might have climbed the wall & ordered us to bolt the door.

Within minutes we could hear someone knocking at our door. Everyone looked perplexed! As the knocking at the door intensified, I could hear a voice say speaking in fluent Urdu “meherbani kar k derwaaza kholiye”. My heart skipped a beat. My mother is brave-heart lady & she opened the door “kya hum andar aa sakte hai” inquired the voice in a polite tone. Only when Mom replied in affirmative, three pheran clad men in their early 30’s sporting long black thick beards & shoulders loaded with ak-47 rifles entered our house. I had already started to sweat & with my heart racing, my whole body started trembling with fear. They asked for my dad to which mom replied that he was offering namaz. They asked us to let him finish the prayers and saying this they sat down.  My elder brother went to other room and informed my father who immediately rushed in and upon seeing the men greeted them with as-salaamualaikum. The reply walaikumasalaam. “Brother we want to stay for night at your home” said one of them. Hearing this I started crying bitterly my brother held my hand & mom hugged me tight.  They assured us they won’t do any harm & will leave in the dead of the night. One of the militants hugged me & gave me a blue gel pen which had a sweet smell and a big babool chewing gum. Then He pulled out a photo album and showed the pictures of some militants that had been active in the state. He further asked if any of them had stayed at our house. “No we haven’t seen any of them” My father replied in a subdued voice.

In the midst of all this I was caught in profundity that army would come in sometime – kill all of us and burn our house .In those days the dreaded POTA was in force across the state and all I knew about it was that if militants took refuge in any house, it would be demolished and family members put behind bars or worse murdered brutally. Mom  asked them if they would have dinner; two of them denied and the third said if we had anything left over only then would he eat & there was no need for to cook afresh. Luckily, we kept some rice for the birds. The same was offered & was accepted with gratitude.

After the dinner; they asked dad to wake them up at around three in the morning. We laid mattresses for them in one room and we four confined ourselves to the other. None of us could sleep that night & were counting hours as to when the clock ticks 3 and they would leave. I had been crying over and over again with mom consoling me. It seemed an eternity had passed when the clock stuck 2:30.  Dad mustered some courage and knocked at their door. “3 bajgaye aap jag jaye” “it’s almost three” with quivering voice my father said. They woke up and informed that they would first offer tahajud and then leave. They offered the prayers, oiled their beards with clinic all care oil and offered the bottle to me; and got ready to leave. We opened the main door my father took some quick steps, slowly opened the main gate, looked into the lane and waved to them “the coast is clear” & they could leave. ”As-salaam-u-alaikum” they said as they faded into the dark. We closed the door rushed quickly in put up the mattress in its right place.

A sigh of relief!! . As we went to sleep brother said we should still check the room & everyone agreed. We started checking the room and what took our breath was when we saw they had left some ammunition there under the doormat. We couldn’t recognise any of it except for the grenade that we had seen in movies & news. We were caught in a big trouble. All our fears came right back to us.

Our maternal house was under construction we decided to hide it there till we could think of a proper place to dispose it.

We all started thinking of ways to getting rid of the rather dangerous “gifts” our guests had left over. The problem in disposing them was what if they realised about their missing items & came back for them. This thought of them returning back kept us on tenterhooks for the rest of the night.

The next morning we heard the news of a gun fight a few kilometres from our home. Dad quickly went out look out for the newspaper & in a few minutes he opened the main gate & walked at a brisk pace towards the door. I saw a copy of “alsafa” newspaper, a leading daily of the time. On the front page it carried the news of the gunfight between militants & Indian forces and declared that all three militants were dead along with a few Indian soldiers.  We recognised the faces that were published alongside with the news story. A mixed feeling of relief & remorse filled us, upon seeing the bullet ridden bodies of the three “militants” who had been our “guests” just a few hours ago.

A week after the incident mom put the ammunition in polythene bag and carried it all the way to a nearby nallah where she tossed it in and watched it drown.

When she entered the gate that morning, the look on her face assured all of us that it was finally over.

It’s a day that we’ll remember all our lives

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kashmir

Gaw Kadal massacare

On January 1990 jagmohan asked Kashmiri pandits to migrate Jammu .pandits who along with their Muslim brethren had been epitome of the love bond (milichaar) in Kashmir left their Muslim brethren in lurch and left for Jammu. after making a safe passage for pandits from Kashmir  .the newly appointed governor of Kashmir who had stunned everyone with his fiery speech on 20th Jan  saying that “that he would not accept any salary but just a rupees 1000 for personal use  & he further went on saying anyone who creates law and order problem will be dealt strictly he  further said he will forget the cards of peace he carried with him all the way from Delhi will slip from his hands .the words spread like fire all over the valley . on 21 Jan 1990 whole city had been clamped under curfew .there were house to house raids in Srinagar carried by occupational forces to trace down the militants .it was during these raids the first of its kind in Kashmir the most heinous crime was committed women in their homes were molested by the forces who carried door to door search operation and 300 people were arrested. The incident provoked the people of valley to hit roads and protest against the in-humane actions of security forces .people were heard chanting: “Allah –u- Akbar kabeeran kabeera

The people from various localities had gathered at maisuma and were moving towards the GAW kadal .its their when people were intercepted by police and paramilitary crpf.

On the directions of local police officer  crpf opened fired on the people .killing at least 52-100 people or more some were killed by direct firing and others by drowning after they jumped into water out of fear in that aspect it bears resemblance to jallianwalla bagh massacre where many protesters died by jumping into water

Engineer farooq Ahmed the one who survived the firing describes how after the firing crpf walked slowly forward across the bridge, finishing off those who were lying wounded on the ground. when shooting began farooq ahmed had fallen flat on his face and managed to escape completely unhurt .just as farooq ahmed was about to get up he saw soldiers coming forward ,shooting anyone who was injured someone pointed at him& shouted “that man is alive a soldier began firing at him with machine gun he was hit 4 times on his back & twice on his arms seeing that he had some life left another soldier pointed at him but officer told him not to waste his ammo he would now die anyhow writes a famous historian & traveller William dalrymple farooq ahmed met traveler at a hospital were he had been taken for treatment William further adds he could see whole hospital laden with blood bathed people  & relatives wailing .

We even had heroes in the name of shaheed irfan bhat who took 18 bullets on his chest while men in uniform tried to fire upon on women another brave son of the soil shaheed who on seeing crpf men firing indiscriminately tried to stop him on sensing trouble crpf men emptied whole machine gun in his chest

shahedd irfan bhat 16 who took bullets on his chest
shahedd irfan bhat 16 who took bullets on his chest

In the aftermath of GAW kadal massacre more massacres followed the perpetrators are yet to be brought to justice, but then I think how we can expect justice from a state which in first place is the reason for all our misery and trouble..

“Chota bazaar aur guru bazaar main

Changezi dour ki yadien taaza”

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ONE LAST TIME

Amreen Naqash

The veil that kept hanging between two,

Burnt on just one sight.

To dust it was lost forever,

While in an inward eye-

droplets still float to extinguish the fire.

Running through hurricane of the feelings,

A voice broke in a clumsy fashion!

“Neither an inheritance of love it was,

 Nor it belonged to a fashion of modern living?

 Then why I believe you to be a dearest,

 But find you far from even being a friend?”

Watching a step of mine tendering backward,

Like the last seasonal snow snuggling in the soil.

Exerting hard to scroll up a voice from the chest,

“Harshly I can’t even think of sharing a word,

Swiftly, like an autumn struck leaf falling to the ground-

 Such choice has been nailed out far before,

To questions:

  I would have shared desserts for calming you,

       and explaining true,

But the choice is none!

For…

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kashmir

should we really vote ???

           As the winter sets in, the chinar leaves fall .the crackling sound of the leaves when tramples under feet. With chilly and foggy morning. Amidst all this so is the election season back. In every nook and corner we hear the election rants as loud as it could get .everyone is seen blaming each other pointing out each other’s mistakes? TV radio social media, newspapers are being used to lure people everyone fighting with keeping in local issues in mind which they promise to fulfil our demands which they have failed to address time and again. The election this time is a cracker with India’s largest emerging party in fray of winning majority here. They are riding high on modi wave and want to take a lead in j&k as well. Other parties are also fighting tooth and nail to make sure they vote in their favour .well up to this time it has been answered in affirmative with 71% turnout in 2 phases the question arises why do people vote?????

Aren’t the people aware of the 62 years of genocide committed by India have they forgotten the martyrs of Kashmir who laid their lives for a noble cause. Have they forgotten the mothers who lost their sons are still disappeared, the wives who lost their husbands. Have they forgotten the sister’s & mothers who were raped by the Indian army under the rule of these parties? Have they forgotten the 1990’s, 2008, 2010, in these years how many innocents were killed? The conscience if the people is it really dead. I fail to understand which breed of people we Kashmiri belong to.

Even after witnessing such brutalities n sheer human rights violation how do people go out and vote?

These all parties are responsible for our miseries .under their rule we had ikhwani rule, S T F   who let the reign of terror in the state. Acceded to India, sold our resources. Brought the draconian laws like that of the D A A   , AFSPA, &POTA .under these laws Kashmir’s are being killed .it has given impunity to the army men.  Now they know election are near so they made some handful of probes so that they could stand with some credibility in front of the people but as we know these are mere an eyewash .. People are even voting for communal forces. Who openly make harsh comments on other religion and playing politics of divide? They have leaders who openly talk trash about minorities. They are there to change the demographics of our region.

People of Kashmir need to rise to the occasion and defeat these forces. Take vow not to vote in the democratic process rather than look for measures that could help restore the position that existed before the accession. And shun the electoral process …

Hargah agar cze vote dikh yazeedan

Zan dikh shaeedan henz kabran naar

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You Tell Us What to Do Faiz Ahmed Faiz, 1911 – 1984

When we launched life
on the river of grief,
how vital were our arms, how ruby our blood.
With a few strokes, it seemed,
we would cross all pain,
we would soon disembark.
That didn’t happen.
In the stillness of each wave we found invisible currents.
The boatmen, too, were unskilled,
their oars untested.
Investigate the matter as you will,
blame whomever, as much as you want,
but the river hasn’t changed,
the raft is still the same.
Now you suggest what’s to be done,
you tell us how to come ashore.

When we saw the wounds of our country
appear on our skins,
we believed each word of the healers.
Besides, we remembered so many cures,
it seemed at any moment
all troubles would end, each wound heal completely.
That didn’t happen: our ailments
were so many, so deep within us
that all diagnoses proved false, each remedy useless.
Now do whatever, follow each clue,
accuse whomever, as much as you will,
our bodies are still the same,
our wounds still open.
Now tell us what we should do,
you tell us how to heal these wounds.

From The Rebel’s Silhouette by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, translated by Agha Shahid Ali. Copyright © 1991 by Agha Shahid Ali.