Feb 23, 2013

Kunan Poshpora: A Doomed Village

Today morning I cracked my day with a surprise. I woke up astonishingly only to find a white snowy blanket welcoming my drowsy eyes. “Bolt from the sky,” I reasoned for the unexpected snowfall. Although I am a keen watcher of snowfall but rejoicing the heavenly fall was not an option this time. It was the black day of remorse and mourning. Every single snowflake touching the ground was like a rebuke bombarding the conscience of people lost in their slumber only to awake them of an ugly past, a gruesome happening. It reminded me of the same fateful snowy day some 22 years back that doomed a village called “KunanPoshpora”.

Feb 23 1991 Kunan Poshpora: At least 23 women gang reportedly gang-raped by Indian soldiers in this Godforsaken land that remains aloof from the rest of the valley with army barricades and lofty snow. Women, young and old, widowed and half-widowed, married and otherwise, were molested by the armed aliens.  Their chastity was assaulted by the boozy beasts and their souls trampled under the jackboots. Their life was devastated forever. What followed is only a history now, stained and ugly, “untraced”.

Sadly the world is silent to this gruesome tragedy as the investigations have always been sponsored by the saviors of the defaulters.  And any further stories put up by the media were not able to sell the truth. Rest of the lot just exploited the newsy ingredient to cook and sell the news that is digestible by their bosses.  The unfortunate mass rape that shattered the whole village only underscored the name “Kunan Poshpora” as newsy. Enumerate news bodies and filmmakers captivated the newsy part again and again for years now till they archived it as old. No more newsy.  

Today I was really dumbfounded and even more disappointed to find no space for “KunanPoshpora” in the news giants of Kashmir, needless to talk of India. I scanned the length and breadth of the press only to add more disappointment. When I inquired a well-versed pressman for the same, he responded: “Why to rape them again and again? Why to reveal the same ill-fated past?  News is only newsy when it is new.  That’s probably why they call it ‘news’.”  I was spellbound in response.  

But I fear for the reason that if we go on burying our past like this then will be burying all those possibilities of getting justice and living hopes, if any. In this way, we are digging graves to bury down our bitter memories and bridging gaps for the defaulters to make them runaway at ease.

No doubt Kunan Poshpora is a tragedy that is far unforgettable and unforgiving.  It's an ugly stain on the face of Indian democracy and its "Jawans". The pain and the loss can never be documented, no matter what you do because “rape” is no little crime. It’s more of a psychological assault than physical. It shatters the victim once and for all. It’s the assault on the whole family and not just the victim. What follows cannot be narrated.  

Back in Kunan & Poshpora, later after devastating all the noble souls, the soldiers left the village on its own to mourn and cry. Their bloody footprints on the snowy paths evaded soon but the ghastly period never did.  The fateful night ended and the sun signed up for the coming day but it left behind shattered souls, wailing mothers and angry helpless people. Worse of all, it left the young sons and brothers, who witnessed their mothers and sisters being raped, only to cross the border and return with a revenge gear to kill the perpetrators.     

And today when the whole world, including Kashmir, is catching the sleep in warm cozies, the haunted village of Kunan Poshpora is still there, all awake and doomed with a past that’s indelible and ugly.
 Now as I windup, I can only dream for the justice.

Feb 15, 2013


Kashmir shutdown, Day six!! Although the curfew has been somewhat relaxed but the mental trauma is still there. The heart beats are still at halt following the assassination of Kashmiri sentiments to satisfy the collective conscience of a nation that is conscience-impaired.

Well the globe might be moving at its pace but Kashmir is still stationary. The noose of curfew might have been loosened around the neck of a Kashmiri but Kashmir is still enslaved in the shackles of psychological prisons of helplessness and deceit.

I am frustrated now. I am digesting whatever I am being feed with. I sleep, I eat, again I sleep and I eat and shit out the eaten. That’s my routine now and for millions alike who are caged in their homes from last six days now.

When I move to my virtual life of social networking only to kill my time, I find the black banners still hanging the walls as if reminding me that Kashmir is still doomed.  The curfew now seems gagging my virtual life too not to question about my real life that was arrested the time I breathed my first in Kashmir. The happy people whose online habits were vivacious few days back, sharing their love stories and joys; they are all invisible now. Their footprints are nowhere online. Their mobile devices are cramped from crawling the web and thus turned lifeless.

Meanwhile the Mosques are full of “periodical” Nimazis who are otherwise busy attending their ungodly chores, myself included. Old bones, mid aged grey men and teeny revolutionary youth beat the common paths to the local mosques. The warm and cozy Masjid Hamams are all packed with people, young and old, beating the February cold and more importantly killing their Curfewed time. Revolutionary speeches and prediction of forthcoming days, all these trivial politics fill the air making it even warmer. Mosques in Kashmir are never so enthralling as on a hartal or curfew day, No wonder.

Lastly, I am left with writing all this only to push another story into an ocean of similar trivial attempts. I still write despite knowing the fact that nothing will change. Huh!  Probably because I am getting paranoid for being one of the lambs in a herd of cattle that are tethered with a common leash called 'curfew'.

Tweet birds can Follow @Abdul Wajid786

Feb 13, 2013

A Curfew Visit

(This article appeared first on Kashmir Life)

It was Sunday evening of Feb 10th . I was caged at home like my brethren in Kashmir following the undeclared execution of Afzal Guru, the 2001 parliament attack “accused”. A strict curfew was clamped down to arrest people inside their homes and confine their resentment to the four walls. I was busy with a writing assignment trying to compile a story for Kashmir Life( the weekly magazine I worked for). Without any premeditation, my bad Kidney started troubling me with a severe pain. I was being treated for Kidney stones from last few weeks but the infection belled its whistles again and the pain started to aggravate at once.

I ran out of medicine and was helpless to find any medical shop operating in a curfew.  I struggled the whole night to comfort myself and literally couldn’t stop my poor self from crying in pain that seemed unbearable. I somehow managed to get some sleep lately after dosing some pain killers and any diazepams I could find.

The morning that followed was even worse as the infection swelled manifolds. Now I desperately needed to visit the hospital but I was taken aback by the curfew.  Losing all the other options I moved on and took my mother along as an alibi (as my curfew pass on humanitarian grounds).   

It was the third day of strict indefinite curfew in Kashmir following the undeclared execution of Afzal Guru and it was not easy to move out. Plus more it was Feb 11th, the death anniversary of Maqbool Bhat, the apex figure of Kashmiri rebellion against the Indian dogma.

As I stepped out, the emptied streets welcomed the lone motor I was driving minus few ambulances and many armed wagons bamming their ear-splitting sirens. There were checkpoints after every 100 or 200 meters, all whirled in concertina wires and barricades, looking as if a war has been raged. As I moved on along with my mother, we were stopped at every check point and interrogated to the fullest. And almost at every checkpoint my mom beseeched before the armed Gods for allowing us to reach the hospital. At each of the innumerable points I felt pity over my helplessness and over the slavery we are trapped in. I still feel so, sadly.

Photo By: Abdul Basit

Soldiers charged with guns and loaded with batons were patrolling the deserted streets thereby creating a haunting scenario of a city that looked very vivacious only few days back. I recollected the joyous moment two days before when I was rejoicing my time in Lal Chowk, the heart of srinagar city,  along with my peers.  Now the same Lal Chowk seemed haunting to me. Stray dogs were probably the only creatures rejoicing the freedom of curfew along their police peers.

All over it was all tense like a blackout. A deafening silence had engulfed the whole valley daunting its happiness and peace. No one was visible around and no footsteps audible as if all the souls had been snatched at once. The silence was calm but seemed more dangerous as if signalling the lull before a storm. It turned me ill at ease. I feared the upcoming reprisals of the blunder done by the Indian government at Tihar. I feared the deadly episodes of 2008, 2009 and 2010. I feared the killings. The mission they called #OperationThreeStar to slaughter a scapegoat for pleasing the #CollectiveConscience of a vision-impaired nation might have quenched their bloody thirst but it seemed to be the onset of a new cycle of violence in peaceful Kashmir. I pray my fear proves otherwise.

On the streets I couldn’t feel a smiling face around except some young boys playing cricket on the empty streets at some handful places. As I reached the hospital, I was completely dumbfounded to find people lying here and there like pieces of scrap scattered over a littering place. They were helpless to move anywhere in curfew and thus forced to sleep in the wintry cold corridors of the hospital. My heart wrenched and mourned as I saw a line of poor daily wagers sitting on the shop fronts looking for any opportunity to earn a bread piece to take back home and feed their starved family with.

Later when I reached home safely, another ridiculous mockery form the great Indian nation added to my surprise. The letter posted from Tihar jail intended to reach the family of Afzal Guru to intimate them of the loss reached there almost 30 hours late.  

Heralding a turbulence hitting from the bars,

A letter is posted prior to a storm.

The letter is destined to the country without a post office.

It laments the news breaking all the norms.

Now I can write #Kashmir on the wall over and again

Lest I find a reader with a conscience.


Lastly I bowed before my lord and prayed with a heavy heart, wondering about my stand in a nation that claims to be democratic. I question back the proud Bharat, if I am allowed to, for their stand in Kashmir. Who gave them the right to confine a poor man to the four walls of his home? I question them for the right to deprive a poor man of his daily wages? I question them for the right to deprive an ailing boy of medicine and again I question them for their right to snatch three innocent lives(Following Afzal Guru) that were living happily three days ago?  And lastly I again question, if I am allowed to, for their right to create the entire ruckus in a pacifistic Kashmir?

I can foresee this dictating curfew and rebellion resistance will carry on every death anniversary of Afzal Guru and will get more intense with time. And I fear there will be a day when all this anger, disappointment and the reprisals will snowball into a Frankenstein that will swallow its evil engineer. Lets pray for peace.

RIP #AfzalGuru

Feb 10, 2013

An Undeclared Murder


Feb 9th 2013, another day added to the bloody red letter figures of Kashmir.  #AfzalGuru hanged!  The mournful news welcomed the wintry cold morning in the most unwelcoming way. Ears couldn’t believe what was aired to them and protested back in surprise.

As the news broke, around 8:30 am, an “undeclared curfew” was clamped down over the entire valley only to ensure people’s obvious reaction is confined only to “online” reactions and not the street wars of retaliation and tribulations.

Well, for most of my Indian and “Indianised” peers, I may sound radical to question the hanging of #AfzalGuru. But I do not blame them for their obvious nationalistic reaction.  I appreciate their patriotic romanticism. They are simply credulous lambs who are simply digesting the feeds their TV channels and media is feeding them with. They are too busy to dig into reality. They fear a bearded man with a skull cap for obvious reasons. And now when Kashmir is protesting for the hanging they feel otherwise. They feel dejected for our non-Indian habits. However, following is an attempt to correct them and  elucidate my point which I hope finds some buyers.  

Well kashmiris don’t shout without a reason. We too have reasons to protest and to speak for the truth. And in case of #AfzalGuru I find many reasons to correct my dear Indian and “Indianised” peers and justify the anger and the sadness that is engulfing the valley following todays bluder.
  •      Firstly we cannot compare the case of Afzal Guru with that of Ajmal kasab or Osama Bin Laden or any engineered XYZ terrorist. We simply cannot take an “accused” same as a “terrorist” and take him to gallows. We cannot consider a “suspect” as a “culprit” for the same reason. To be noted
    #AfzalGuru was reportedly a suspect and NOT a culprit.
  • ·   Secondly #AfzalGuru was deprived of a fair trial, as reported. He had no lawyer to put out his version or help him sift through the tangle of lies and fabrications and propaganda put out by the police. This raises the questions about how Afzal, who never had proper legal representation, can be sentenced to death without having had an opportunity to be heard, without a fair trial.
  • ·   Thirdly there is no consistency in the police statements claiming Guru to be a terrorist. Pertinently there have been many cases of fabrications  in which many accused were acquitted by the court, lately after proven innocent and after wasting their precious years.  
  •     Also there are statements that say Afzal accepted the charges against him in media under stress out of the extreme police torture and inhuman interrogation.   
  • ·   Afzal Guru was hanged more for political reasons than for justice. The present Indian government was more desperate to brag about its stand on anti-terrorism and #AfzalGuru was just a scapegoat. He was more like a sacrificial goat to start a new journey of captivating the coming vote bank. He was hanged by India only to satisfy a ‘collective dead conscience’ of a nation.
  •     Lastly,  by hanging #AfzalGuru secretly so that he could not approach the courts, and ignoring the pending case that could have affected his sentence, and finally not intimating his family about his execution, the Home Minister acted illegally
Meanwhile when the whole Indian Nation is busy with their sponsored celebrations, Kashmir is mourning the murder of another great son. Heart beats are at halt, wailing for the abortion of justice. Streets are full with men in uniform patrolling the emptiness. The ding dong battles are on elsewhere. Mosques are heralding the Gayibana Jinaza  (Prayers in Absentee) and much similar Azadi reverbrations.  Mobile internet is barred all across the valley fearing the black banners that go rampant over the social networking sites protesting the bungle. TV Cable is also debarred and later filtered to telecast only the lulling tracks to lull the mourners. In no time the so called leaders and their armchair critics appear from nowhere to cook their rhetoric speeches, Hartal calls and other political lingos. And finally the Media rejoices the biggest share of the pie by captivating the news for the next few days.

Well I am not delivering a hate speech here but my attempt is only to wake the people in slumber who are unaware of the blunder done today by the largest democracy of the world.  With the hanging of Guru, India has strangulated its lasting hopes to win the hearts of a common Kashmiri. Today it was not just a murder of the Kashmiri sentiments; it was more a suicide by Indian democracy.  My dear Indian and “Indianised” friends, make a good note of this.