‘Disputed’ is what I think of when it comes to describing myself in one word. My identity is disputed. The place I live in is a disputed territory. And the future of which I've no idea is also going to remain in the same state. My entire life is disputed. Literally.
While female education remains marred by patriarchy and poverty mostly in almost every part of the world, here you have dispute to blame, again. Though we can do away with patriarchy by advocating and lobbying the masses; as for the underprivileged class, the governments can introduce such schemes which would provide free education up to school level, with scholarships for higher education. This isn't easy, I know. However we can succeed if we do. But what should be done to the disputed territory which observes compete shutdown and curfews with internet services snapped for weeks together after almost every two months or so?
I am a native of the two-third area of the state of Jammu and Kashmir which has been occupied by India. One third remains under the control of Pakistan which comprises of Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas. After the British withdrew its forces from the Indian subcontinent, territorial disputes over Kashmir began to sprout. Eventually UN Security Council established the UN Commission for India and Pakistan which passed a resolution, “the question of the accession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of free and impartial plebiscite.” However the government of India has constantly refused to hold a plebiscite in the state. Hence the conflict.
On top of it all we have AFSPA- Armed Forces Special Powers Act, a law which gives license to kill innocent and suspected persons under the disguise of maintaining law and order and violates provisions of national and international human rights law. Everybody knows that the CRPF is trained to fire the tear gas shell in a parabolic way but in Kashmir they fire on direct bodyline. Even at the end of a peaceful protest, a civilian somewhere falls to their bullets. According to the fourth section of the Act, “Any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the Armed Forces may, in a disturbed area, arrest, without warrant, any person who has committed a cognizable offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed or is about to commit a cognizable offence and may use such force as may be necessary to effect the arrest.” The act gives them the license to destroy property without verification. Section 6 of the Act practically eliminates any prosecution of armed forces personnel, "No prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings shall be instituted, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of powers conferred by this Act." And thus, since 1990, not a single army, or paramilitary officer, or soldier has been prosecuted for murder, rape, or destroying property in the state. On the night of February 23, 1991 68th Brigade of the Fourth Rajputana Rifles cordoned off the village of Kunan Poshpora. They made their forced entry into the houses and gang-raped all the women, besides electrocuting their genitals. Some of them were raped twice. No prosecution! Moreover Chattisinghpora, Pathribal, Barakpora, Sopore, Handwara, Gawakadal, Bijbihara, Zakura and Tengpora massacres are a few fake encounters in which scores of Kashmiri civilians were killed and massive property was destroyed. In a signed response to an RTI application filed by co-coordinator of J&K Coalition of Civil Society on the number of prosecutions sanctioned under AFSPA, the J&K Home Department stated, “no sanction for prosecution has been intimated by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defense to the State Government from 1990-2011 under the J&K Armed Forces Special Powers Act.”
By and large the barrier of conflict is stronger. However it isn't impossible to get rid of it. The long pending plebiscite can be held online. In this way we would come to know of the way people think. Together we can bring the change. If not the dispute, at least we can to some extent help resolve the issue into simple elements. We can help advocate people about the ways to deal with difficult times when you are living in a conflict zone. Apparently it would minimize the stress levels and bring some sunshine in our lives.