Mark Magnier from Srinagar

From LA Times: “Curfews mean a life of limbo for Kashmiris

“Imagine being cooped up in your house for a day, or maybe even a week, unable to work, attend school, buy groceries, visit a doctor. Then imagine months of this, year after year, going back to 1990.”

“That’s the reality for residents of the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, who have been forced for decades to navigate work stoppages, curfews, militant incursions and crackdowns.”

“Because they never know when government or separatist demands will force another shutdown, many families keep at least a month’s supply of rice, flour, sugar and other staples on hand.”

“Such stockpiling also dovetails with a history of self-sufficiency, born of living in a mile-high valley where snow blocks the passes for months, and with a tradition of hospitality that dictates preparation of a lavish feast on short notice for any visitors who might arrive.”

“It’s the Kashmiri culture,” said Usman Ahmad, an aid worker in Kashmir with Mercy Corps, a charity group. “We’re kind of like squirrels.”

“For the 20% of the population living hand to mouth, however, such a luxury is impossible.”

“Stockpiling, that’s for rich people,” said Mohammad Yusef Mir, 75, a tea-wallah, boiling a vat of sweet milk tea over a gritty Bunsen burner. His strategy: Skirt the shutdowns whenever possible.”

“When a work stoppage is called, he’ll wait a few hours, then cautiously lift his metal gate and start serving tea. Sometimes he pays the price. Last week, police beat the septuagenarian with long sticks, leaving a foot-long bruise on his back, when he didn’t close fast enough for their liking.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s