Life in a Conflict Zone

November 11

Owais Qadir

Every morning when the sun comes out with its rays piercing the earth’s atmosphere and then entering our rooms, we sense that morning has arrived and unlike the mornings in other parts of globe, our mornings bring killings, bloodshed and suffering with it.

Life in a conflict zone is very different and difficult too. From dawn to dusk you are like a lion roaming freely without any fear but the moment sun hides behind the lofty mountains and darkness prevails over the valley, the same lion becomes jackal. Fear not only prevails over an individual but over the whole atmosphere and with the clock beeping at 7 o clock in evening one can see shutters going down and by 7:15 except dogs nobody dares to roam on the roads unless emergency. People have not fear of thieves or drunkards but of the men with guns; either belonging to Armed forces or militants.

I had my schooling from Muthana Army School located at Khanabal so watching men with guns was not any different thing for me until our school bus was hijacked by a group of masked gunmen near takia bahramshah on harnag road, at that time I was studying in 4th class. I still remember, I was sitting on the left side of the driver’s seat and a group of 3 men wanted a lift and the bus driver who was a local stopped but the situation turned ugly when they asked us to come out of the vehicle and stand in a queue, while we were coming out of the vehicle and on reaching the exit door. I saw a man with a gun in his hand shouting at us to come out quickly. At first I thought we will be killed and a single bullet will do the job. However, after everyone came out they all boarded the vehicle and took the vehicle along with the driver to an unknown place and that day became my last day in that school. Who they were, why they hijacked our school bus still remains a mystery.

I was born in nineties and the armed resistance had already started, from that day it’s the Kashmiri blood that is flowing side by side with Jhelum. Although, the situation had improved a lot with each passing year but 2008 unrest changed whole scenario in Kashmir, with wide spread protests and killings. The youth of Kashmir was alienated; the situation remained tense for 3-4 months and before peace could prevail another uprising started in the year 2010, which was a result of a fake encounter and killing of a teenage student by security forces. It was from the year 2010, Kashmiri youths started picking up guns after they got alienated because of the killings so they thought gun will heal their wounds and from 2010 to 2018 the records kept breaking with each passing year be it in the form of joining or killing. Every day the Kashmiri blood flows be it that of a policemen or of a militant. One giving his life, for fulfilling the needs of his family and another for ending the Indian rule. Apart from these two, there is a common Kashmiri , who killed either by a stray bullet or by an unidentified gunmen.

The problem is that both groups fighting each other are locals and their sympathizers are locals as well. The one who tries to avoid both the groups sometimes by a mere coincidence does get involved without his willingness and he is also at the risk of losing his life. When a lion can dance due to the fear of a whip so why can’t a man obey the person holding a gun and move on his directions. After all it’s the life that matters the most and not the situation one has to go through but obeying the one group in that situation means torture, pain and suffering from the other group. In nutshell, the life of a kashmiri is just a misery and till the solution is not found the people will die and the sufferings won’t come to an end.
At last I would like to request the govt. of India and Pakistan to take a step and start a dialogue process, its only talks through which solution can be found. The more time they will take, more will be the killings, more people will become homeless, and a time will come when the people of Kashmir will become extinct and it will only be the piece of land; that will remain there, with our bodies and blood beneath it.

NOTE: The Views expressed by the author are his own and are not the views of The Kashmiriyat necessarily.

Owais qadir is a student of law at the school of law university of Kashmir.