2018 in Pictures- Broken Hopes and Shattered Dreams, As Families Loose their Beloved

January 10

Tawseef Nazir

The Himalayan valley – Kashmir is now often gripped with silence, with coils of tangled wires blocking its alleys. Indian troops in battle gear rove the streets in this Himalayan valley of fabled beauty.

The decades long conflict in the valley saw a volcanic eruption, the troubles visible in the valley today began in July 2016 when Indian forces killed three rebels in South Kashmir including the student turned rebel, Burhan Wani- the Valley has been on the edge since.

In a paroxysm of Anti India Anger the residents- thousands at a time- defy restrictions to come out on the streets, raining stones at everything that symbolizes India in Kashmir. They fight pitched battles with armed forces, who respond with lethal force, as a result hundreds of civilians have been killed during these protests.

The killing of Burhan Wani triggered a civilian uprising, strengthened by an unending memory of killings, torture and mass repression at the hands of Indian government forces, which for years has struggled to put down a bloody Anti India insurgency that erupted in late 1980s.

 

Every day in Kashmir is mourning for the locals, as it brings news of more unarmed civilians killed somewhere in Kashmir. The locals armed with sticks, stones and motolov cocktails emerge from their homes to take on the collective might of a flailing administration for the cause of ‘Azadi’ (independence).

The south Asian nuclear powers India and Pakistan have been claiming this Himalayan region in its entirety and fought three wars and have been engaged in an unending exchange of gunfire across the line of control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. According to an official data released by the Indian government in august this year the cease fire truce agreement had been violated a mammoth 1432 times from January till early August 2018.

The year 2018 according to local news reports has been the deadliest in a decade. Stats reveal that 140 civilians have been killed this year while 230 rebels and 86 government force personnel have also been shot dead, ironically 2018 has also been the year of highest number of locals being recruited into Anti India armed groups, more than 165 locals have joined the militant ranks which analysts believe is due to the lack of political will on the Indian side to resolve the decades long conflict.

That number of Militants today stand at not more than 250, however, over half a million Indian troops camping in camps that dot this Himalayan region, are a constant reminder that the conflict is far from over.

The Kashmir Valley has witnessed a fresh trend in lack of political avenues as thousands of civilians rush to the site of encounters between rebels and Indian forces to engage the forces in pitched battles and help the trapped militants escape the encounter site. Official data reveals that at least 106 civilians have been killed near encounter sites from 2017 January to June 2018/ Photo- Tawseef Nazir The Kashmiriyat

On January 27, 3 civilians were shot dead when Indian forces opened fire upon unarmed protesters in Ganawpora village of Jammu Kashmir’s Shopian district. The total number of civilians killed in that month stood at 12, the month of February witnessed six civilian killings/ Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat

12 civilians were killed in the month of March. On 5 march, the Indian forces opened fire on car borne civilians killing four of them on the spot at Puhnoo village in Shopian district of Jammu Kashmir/ Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat.

In the recent past, ‘collateral damage’ has been the most noticeable change of encounters between Indian forces and Kashmiri rebels. According to an official data, at least 5368 shops, houses and other privately owned structures suffered damage during encounters from 1989 to 2001, no official data is available post that, but the number can reasonably be estimated to have increased manifold. April 01, was one of the bloodiest day as it witnessed 20 killings which included 13 rebels, 4 civilians and 3 government force personnel- Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat.

April was one of the deadliest month as 18 civilians were killed, on April 11, 4 civilians were killed when army opened fire on protesters during clashes in the vicinity of an encounter site in Khudwani village of Kulgam district, four residential houses were also razed to the ground by Indian government forces. Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat.

In the month of May an assistant professor went missing from Kashmir’s apex university, two days later he was killed in an encounter with indian forces in Badigam village of Shopian district along with four other militants. The month witnessed the killing of 18 militants and 14 civilians. / Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat.

In recent years crowds have significantly increased at the funerals for Militants, Those who cannot find a place on ground, climb trees, walls and rooftops to catch a glimpse of the fallen ‘heroes’. Women often stand by windows, wailing, thumping their chests and pulling their hair, while men shoulder the coffin and raise slogans of freedom and sing songs of valor. The shrouded body is then lowered into a grave in a separate graveyard for martyrs. The month of June witnessed killing of 11 civilians including top Journalist Shujaat Bukhari who was killed by unknown gunmen outside his office on June 14, 2018/ / Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat

On 07 July, the forces opened fire on civilians in Hawoora village of Kulgam district, three persons including a 13 year old girl was among the victims of the firing. 13 civilians and 11 Militants were killed in July./ Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat.

The Indian forces have also suffered casualties at the hands of militants as 100 government force personnel have been killed in separate incidents throughout the year. On March 29, suspected militants barged inside the home of a policeman and shot him dead, his wife was critically wounded in the incident. / Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat.

In August and September 14 civilians were killed while the period saw killing of 56 militants. The months also saw restrictions being imposed to deduce the size of militant funerals. / Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat.

The month of October was one the bloodiest as 52 casualties took place across the Kashmir valley, 28 of them were militants, 14 civilians and 10 Indian force personnel. October 21 was the bloodiest day of the month when 7 civilians were killed in an explosion in the Laroo area of Kulgam District after the forces left an encounter site un-sanitized. / Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat.

November 2018 witnessed 46 casualties which included 34 militants, 8 civilians and 4 Indian force personnel. 19 people including civilians were killed in span four days/ Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat.

On December 15, seven civilians were killed when Indian forces opened fire on unarmed protesters in Sirnoo area of Pulwama district. Eyewitness testimonies suggest that the Indian forces opened fire upon bystanders while leaving the encounter site in Sirnoo after the killing of three Militants in the area. The area witnessed chaos as thousands of people including women kept running from one funeral to the other, all slain civilians and militants were natives of Pulwama district. / Photo- Tawseef Nazir~The Kashmiriyat.