Rahul Pandita from Srinagar

From Open Magazine:Reckless in Kashmir

“On the way, masked men pop out of the procession and make vehement requests, asking onlookers to join. Most of them do. Some people are content to peep out of the windows of their houses, recording the scenario on their mobile phones. A few in the crowd sprinkle water on the rest for some relief from the heat. Drinking water tinged with orange squash is being served to protestors. Women singwanwun, traditional Kashmiri songs that hail the fallen men as bridegrooms of azaadi, of ‘freedom’.

Handling the crowd is another young man who calls himself Masood Wafai. He has a business in Russia, and has arrived in Kashmir a week ago. “We are under occupation,” he grimly says, “And I have not come here at the invitation of somebody, to earn Rs 150 for pelting stones, as the State accuses us of. I have left a business to take part in the protests.”

“India is in search of peace. We are in search of freedom. Why is it so hard to understand that we have no common ground?” demands another boy.”

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