ONE MORE DOWN (DING DONG!)
Just the other day I made a post about smile but perhaps people don’t know how difficult this is in my part of world.
Today as I left home in the morning I was making a list of what I had to do in my mind. It was Monday so a hectic day for me. As I walked the short distance from my home to catch a bus I overheard two men saying that someone has been killed in the old city. My heart sank as I knew instantly it would be a young boy. I rallied my mind to take some decisions as I knew the day would be full of disturbances. Questions like should I go to office if there is no transport, Should I call a colleague for a lift or should I go back home were to be answered.
I was happy to see a bus which I boarded. As I sat my phone rang. It was mom calling to tell that she had called my uncle who told her that a boy of their locality has been killed by a smoke canister. Mom wanted me back home but I told her I was fine and in a bus. She hung up instructing me to take care of myself.
For the next hour and half I travelled the large part of the city, changed two buses in a quest to reach my office. People in different parts of the city were protesting against the killing or should I say murder. And we protest in a novel way that is by throwing stones.
In Office as I reached out for the newspaper the face of the 15 year old with closed eyes and a swollen pale face stared at me. He was wrapped in the stripped bed sheet characteristic of the local hospital with his head heavily bandaged a strip tucked under the chin. The boy was killed by cops who fired a smoke shell at his head.
This is the fifth civilian killing since the beginning of 2010. Doctors who had attended the boy said his brain was badly damaged and some of his brain matter had come out.
AND HE LIES NAMELESS IN PCR (Police Control Room) screamed a headline telling how hoards of anxious people came for identification. Anxious people, whose children had not returned home. That is how life is in my Kashmir.
The paper read ‘As the shroud was opened, every eye turned moist as a pale innocent boy lay still. Blood was still oozing out from his heavily bandaged head. Clad in a pheran (traditional Kashmiri cloak) the nameless youth seemed to be in deep sleep. Some youth took his pictures with their cell phone cameras.’
“One more Kashmiri family has lost a son today. His parents must be eagerly waiting for him to return. But little do they know that he is no more” the paper quoted a youth.
The youth of Kashmir protest by throwing stones on police. The police retaliate by throwing smoke shells on them. The shells used by are for military combat operations and are not allowed to be used on civilian population. But in Kashmir there are no rules only. Also the police aim the shells at the heads of the protestors making them fatal. Is anyone complaining? The matter was reported in local newspapers and police came up with a statement that they will change the tactics but things never changed. What proof does one need after the recent death of the boy? What is the international community doing, watching how the world’s largest democracy kills us like flies? Swat! Swat!
There are so many ways of dispelling protestors but they use none. Rubber bullets were tried sometime back but they did the same thing. Aimed at heads and made them fatal.
What are our youth doing? Every Friday after prayers and on Sunday afternoon they pelt stones. It is a way of protesting. There is so much anger in the people of Kashmir against the atrocious done here. It has to find a vent. Stone pelting might be one such way.
A cousin of mine working abroad was chatting on net with me a few months back. He asked about the circumstances here. I told him that a boy has been killed and people were protesting. His answer was “I want to throw a stone too. I saw his picture in the local newspaper on the net. What are they doing to us? I am so angry”
They call it (stone throwing) 20-20 or DING DONG. A lot of boys ( it is mostly young males) have died in the process by smoke shells as well as bullets but that does not make us stop. We are ready with the same fervor the next time.
I often wonder what will happen if they take police off the streets. Stone pelting will stop. Or will it.
We have been wronged as people and we have every right to protest. What we want is address our issues and grievances and if you really want to do something help us find a solution to the Kashmir issue.
Till then it is going to be DING DONG!
My mom called again asking I should return. My brother had called home to say that things are bad all over the city and she should instruct me to return home. I think of the work that is to be done and tell mom that I will come along with a colleague who lives around the same area as mine. I will have to walk a bit though. She will be a nervous wreck till we return home but I am helpless.
My heart is heavy thinking about the family of the boy. And I know a lot more families apart from sharing their grief will be on tenterhooks till everyone is back home. The DING DONG is going on; we just don’t know when will the next one GO DOWN.