[Part 2 in a series by guest author, San’aa Sultan]
Recently, Kashmir was home to a siege, a communication blackout, and a media gag. Indian forces patrolled the streets. The world’s largest open air prison, Kashmir had more foreign troops on her soil than her own population.
The curfew was implemented the morning of the execution of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri charged with involvement in the 2001 Delhi attacks.
Although Guru was not allowed a fair trial or legal representation and all evidence was circumstantial, the world’s largest democracy chose to hang him in order to satisfy the collective conscience of its people.
Perhaps the illegal execution of Guru amounted to satisfaction in India, but in Kashmir it was a day of mourning.
Guru’s family was not notified of his execution date and a letter did not reach them until some days later. However, the news of his execution had already gripped a Kashmir that was shackled by the chains of curfew.
Medicines were not allowed into the valley and the ill were to face humiliating checkpoints every inch of the route to hospital. Doctors in Kashmir were told not to declare the dead as “dead.”
Babies were expected to go hungry as milk was not delivered. Families trapped within their homes planned to extend their supplies through the duration of a curfew whose end was not yet in sight.
Kashmir mourned the death of another son and those who broke the curfew in defiance of Indian forces were brutally attacked. Hundreds were injured and at least three martyred.
As this took place, the communication blockade allowed the rest of the world to be very much uninformed about the events taking place in Kashmir.
A mother’s cry could not be heard by her son across the valley, and the world carried on as normal.