RICH AUTUMNS writes from Srinagar: The capital of Kashmir is under tight curfew. Tight does not qualify curfew. It qualifies Srinagar. Srinagar is tight under curfew. The city has stopped breathing. It is an enforced exercise that the Valley undergoes regularly for the sake of law and order. On the deserted streets of Srinagar, Indian Army men stand in army issued jackets nursing rifles under the fresh green leaves of the Chinar. Occasionally a milk man cycles by. Sometimes, he is stopped and turned back. Sometimes he is allowed to pass, after an identity check. Continue reading A Curfew in Spring: Rich Autumns
Guest post by ABHIJIT DUTTA
Once upon a time, a young politician – young enough to have a ‘baba’ appended to his name – came to Kashmir to build a bridge in Srinagar. Now as anyone who knows Srinagar knows, the city is filled with bridges. Some are famous, like Gawkadal, some are pretty, like Zero Bridge, and some are simply without charm, like the Abdullah Bridge that goes from fountain square to Rajbagh. There are several others too, each with their own unique character, their own unique relation to the Jhelum.
When he was told about the many bridges in Srinagar, the politician shouted, “I want to build a bridge.”
“But we don’t need a bridge,” said a man softly to him, wanting not to embarrass this well-meaning man who had come to Kashmir from aafar. In response, the young politician turned around and shouted once again: “I want to build a bridge.” Continue reading To Build A Bridge in Kashmir: A fable by Abhijit Dutta
Guest post by ARIF AYAZ PARREY
I must go back briefly to a place I have loved
to tell you those you will efface I have loved [i]
Exactly ten years after he left us, Aga Shahid Ali returned to his Kashmir. A couple of days earlier, many parts of the valley were blessed with the season’s first snowfall, signalling an end to Harud, the autumn season in Kashmir, and ushering in Wande, the winter. The sky over Srinagar was overcast too, as it has been for the past few days, maybe because this year Moharram has been particularly demanding, with mourners not being allowed to mourn because “the processions might be used by separatists to whip up anti-India sentiments”. The reason for the ban is announced from the same bureaucratic offices which, during the summer, employ the entire state machinery to ensure that people from the plains can climb up the mountains into a cave where Amarnath wants to spend some private time with Parvati so that he can explain to her the mysteries of immortality (Which must include, one would like to presume, the secrets of the longevity of a fragile mountain ecology.) Some like to define this variance in state policy and practice as “secularism”. The connection between the tyranny of Karbala and the present-day Kashmir is firmly established, once again. Continue reading Shahid in Srinagar: Arif Ayaz Parrey
No tears will be shed for press freedom for attacks on journalists in Srinagar by the Central Reserve Police Force and the Jammu and Kashmir Police. Fahad Shah reports what happened in Srinagar yesterday:
Journalists were beaten up and one of them detained, today, when they were covering the post-Friday prayers protests in the Old City, here at Srinagar. Umar Mehraj, who works as video journalist for Associated Press says he, along with other journalists, was covering protests when Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and local policemen start beating. He said while beating, the forces were shouting, “Uthao, uthao video ab (Shoot, shoot the video now.).” Umar says his camera was broken and they were abused too.
The Indian media has been expressing surprise about the high voter turnouts in the Kashmir elections. The expression of surprise sounds genuine. I am not sure how genuine it is. Is patriotism coming in the way of truth? How can we not see what a Wall Street Journal reporter can?
In the village of Samboora, residents said that Indian Army troops went from house to house on Saturday morning, rounding up families and taking them to a polling station. As a reporter drove into the village Saturday afternoon, an army vehicle with several soldiers stopped by the walled compound of Ghulam Mohammad, pulling the 59-year-old retiree onto the road. Seeing a foreign reporter, the soldiers jumped into their vehicle and quickly drove off. “They asked me why I’m not voting, and I said that’s because I don’t like any of the candidates,” Mr. Mohammad said moments later. “They said, if I don’t vote, I’ll be sorry later.” [Must Read]
While we were gagged
8 Killed, Hundreds Injured In 7 Days, Massive Clampdown On Valley
Where are pro-freedom leaders?
Geelani’s Son-In-Law Seeks Red Cross’ Intervention
Curfew relaxed, not beating
‘It is terrorism in uniform’
Yeh BBC London Ki Urdu Service Hai
News starved Kashmiris tune into popular radio program of 90’s in curfew
Azaadi echo in Delhi
Civil right activists favour Kashmir independence