By guest author, San’aa Sultan
Between the folds of two nuclear states lies a valley of forsaken people whose struggle is yet to be told beyond its borders. Kashmir. A place where the crimson soil is still screaming to be heard.
Although the land is shared amongst India, Pakistan, and China, regions of peace and war are easy to identify. The Indian occupied Kashmir comprising the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and Jammu, is home to the world’s highest concentration of troops. There are more Indian troops positioned here than NATO troops in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
At the hands of this brutal presence, the people of Kashmir have suffered oppression for many decades, spreading far beyond the separation of India. In the name of national security and what may be described as India’s self-prescribed “War of Terror,” the worlds’ largest democracy has continued to perpetrate unimaginable human rights abuses in Kashmir.
The names of Aasiya and Neelofar, two ill-fated young Kashmiri women who were gang raped and murdered are known across the valley. The families of eight year old Sameer Ahmed Rah who was beaten to death by Indian forces and 17 year-old Tufail Matoo who was killed after being hit by a tear gas canister have not yet tasted justice. Mass graves are still being uncovered, but the glimmer of hope in the homes of the disappeared lives on despite its painful embrace.
Torturous memories are left lingering in the mind of every Kashmiri and there is no household which has not been subject to abuse. As tensions rise along the Line of Control and the world anticipates a nuclear war, I wish to narrate to you the story of Kashmir.