Samreen Mushtaq

From Kindle Magazine: A Tale of the Tortured

“I don’t like enjoyment. Where one lakh people have been killed, what peace will Tulip Garden or Gulmarg give you? Can one just live in a palace and enjoy when so much blood has been spilled?” he asked me. I met him in a bakery shop at Khwajabagh, some four kilometres from the main town of Baramulla in North Kashmir. I got to know from the shopkeeper that he’d also been a victim of torture, one among thousands in the valley. I started asking him questions, and by the time he finished narrating the events from his tortured past, over an hour had passed. Yes, all this conversation was taking place inside a shop, but I had to listen. And listen I did.

He was affiliated to Muslim Janbaz Force once the armed conflict erupted in the valley. On 12 December 1991, aged 21, he was picked by the Border Security Force in Littar, Pulwama. At that time, he was working on an ad-hoc basis in the health department, earning 525 rupees per month. “I was taken to the BSF I46 Battalion camp there and tortured non-stop for six days. From being beaten with rods to being given electric shocks even in my private parts, the kind of torture I suffered was quite common among those who were picked up. They’d even call the ‘source’ in and ask him to beat me. He broke my nose and I had to be hospitalised”. He remembers every detail vividly: “Even if I am mumbling incoherently in my sleep, I am sure I’d narrate the events exactly as they happened. How can I ever forget it?

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