Rights

'Everything Has Been Lost. Except Our Resolve to Fight Back': Shah Faesal on Kashmir

"You can say that the entire eight million population [of Kashmir] has been incarcerated like never before."

Kashmir is experiencing an unprecedented lockdown. From Zero Bridge to the airport, some movement of vehicles is visible. Other places are completely out of bounds. Except for patients or those with a curfew pass.

It was not possible to reach Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti or Sajjad Lone, or send a message to them.

In other districts, curfew is all the more strict. You can say that the entire eight million population has been incarcerated like never before.

As of now there is no shortage of food and essentials.

My sources in the administration told me that satellite phones given to officers are being used to coordinate civil supplies. No other means of communication is available.

Also read: Hartal in Kargil Against Centre’s Decision to Read Down 370, Make Ladakh a UT

Those with dish TV have access to the news. Cable services are down. Many people still have a bleak idea of what happened. The radio was working till a few hours ago. Most people are watching Doordarshan.

The national media is also not being allowed to move into interior areas.

LD hospital is functioning beyond its capacity as expecting women are getting admitted days in advance to avoid any last moment hassles. Some people are planning to run langars there.

No violent incident has been officially reported so far. Random incidents of stone throwing were reported from Rambagh, Natipora, Downtown, Kulgam and Anantnag. But there has been no news of any killings.

People are in shock. Numb. Yet to make sense of what befell them. Everyone is mourning what we lost.

In my conversations with people besides 370, it’s the loss of statehood that has hurt people deeply. This is being seen as the biggest betrayal by the Indian state in the last 70 years.

The few leaders who have escaped detention called for calm through TV channels. It is being said that the government is ready for a casualty figure of 8,000-10,000. So sanity demands that we don’t give anyone a chance for a mass massacre.

My appeal has also been that let’s stay alive, then we shall fight back.

Also read: ‘Feel Sad That Home Minister Can Lie Like This’: Farooq Abdullah Says He Was Detained

The body language of forces personnel manning the nakas is extremely harsh. Jammu and Kashmir police has been totally sidelined. One person told an acquaintance of mine, “Now we are going to show your place to you.”

Such stories of locals being bullied have reached me from many places. But it’s extremely heartening that Kashmiris are staying calm.

Those who wish to travel to Kashmir should avoid doing it for some time. Even if the curfew is relaxed, the situation will remain extremely volatile.

At the airport, I met crowds of heartbroken youth asking me questions about what we should do now. I said we shall go to the Supreme Court together and ask for reversing this injustice. All political parties here are together on challenging these unconstitutional laws that have deprived us of our history and identity.

As of now that’s the only hope. The international community has shut its eyes. So I am not expecting anything from there.

The sad fact of life is that only Narendra Modi and Amit Shah can one day give back to us the wealth that has been stolen from us in broad day light.

But then what is lost has been lost. Or perhaps everything has been lost. Except our resolve to fight back. And we shall.

This note was originally published on Shah Faesal’s Facebook page. It has been edited lightly for clarity.