Giogiana Violante in Srinagar

From The Comment Factory: “India’s brutality has turned Kashmir into living Hell

“This is the first time in weeks I have had access to the internet. I have not been allowed to receive or send text messages for three months. Just like all Kashmiris my telephone has been barred from such contact. The local news channels have been banned. India controls everything here. And then kills it. The situation is horrific. Over these months of food rationing and persistent curfew whereby all is closed and the streets totally deserted in utter silence, suddenly a protest arises and then spreads throughout the whole city in a surge of frustrated and famished rioters shouting ‘AZADI AZADI AZADI’ (freedom) until it dissipates suddenly into a cacophony of gunshots and clouds of teargas.”

“Last week a seven year old child was beaten to death. You cannot accidentally beat a seven year old to death. It is not like a bullet that goes astray. I cannot see how a stone thrown by a seven year old child can do sufficient damage to any man to warrant his being beaten to death. Children in this part of the world are tiny. A seven-year-old is the size of a three year old westerner. So what kind of person beats a tiny child to death when his stone throw must carry so little force that it barely deserves a shrug? This is such a common occurrence here.”

“The other day I left the university grounds to visit a professor only one minute away. True there is curfew but his house is in a private road attached to the university so I thought I would risk it. When I returned a roofless sumo vehicle full of ten Indian army thugs laughing and shouting came charging through the street waving their batons and guns. They headed for an old man and tried to hit him and then they knocked a 4-year-old boy off his tricycle. For fun. He was only 50 centimetres outside his house’s garden so that hardly counts as disobeying the curfew and yet they charged at him on purpose. They knocked him off the tricycle and then headed for me, which as a western woman I did not expect.”

“Sometimes someone will address me angrily as I pass by, something along the lines of:

“Hey you, America! Why aren’t you helping us? You do something.”

“What can I do?” I reply, “I’m neither a politician nor a journalist. I’m just trapped here like you.”

“But you’re a Westener. You see how things are here. We have been living like this for twenty years. When you go back to your country you tell them. You ask them why they aren’t helping us.”

“It’s your own fault,” I reply. “Why should we bother saving your country when its got no natural resources worth raping? All you’ve got is apples, goats and saffron. You’re doomed.”

A few seconds of silence will be followed by a warm invitation to tea. Muslim hospitality. At this time when every tea leaf is precious these people will share even their last few crumbs of powdered milk with you. And you sit there sipping the tea wondering how and where they managed to procure it and how much it cost them in beatings.”


One comment

  1. Hi Giogiana Violante
    Just read your article on theCommentFactory/wordpress.Very Impressive.Would you like to publish it on
    We are in need of writers who can write on Kashmir Conflict.Articles once approved for publishing by our team will be posted straight away.


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