What seemed like a democracy back in the 1970s has now resulted in a small-scale civil war by the end of the 1980s. Since then, there are numerous assassinations, abductions, rapes, persecutes in Jammu and Kashmir. India, which is led by Hindutva claims to be the largest democracy in the world, yet it is still attempting to diminish the identity of its fellow Kashmiris by military lockdowns in the entire valley. Apart from that, over 1 million Indian armies were settled in the valley of Kashmir. The death of democracy could be seen in every era of Kashmir as every house in this valley had a sad story. The number of killings, rapes, kidnapping was seen to be increased every single day.
In January 2018, a village in Jammu and Kashmir named Redwani village was sealed by units of the Indian Army, Central reserve police force, and Kashmir’s special operation groups. The forces have received a tip-off that the house owners had hidden militants in their homes. Receiving this tip-off, CASO (cordon and search operation) acted up by searching every single home in the village. Zareena’s house ( name changed on request) was one of the houses which were searched up as well. Her words were:
“There was a commotion outside. A group of policemen made their way into the lawn and started kicking and breaking whatever their eyes fell on. We were looking through the window of our kitchen. They banged on the door and broke it open. After that, they started smashing everything in the living room. The TV, the vases, photo frames, and wall-hangings, and everything. We were crying, pleading them to leave but they were in a stupor of rage and frenzy.”
Zareena, her mother, and her two sisters were alone at home at that moment. When they tried to assure the policeman that no militant was hiding in their home, they started verbal abuse. Zareena said:
“I have not heard those abuses ever before in my life. It made me cringe in shame. Among those angry strangers, who carried guns and could have killed me, I felt naked when they were hurling abuse at me”
She further added:
“It seemed they were not looking for any militant. They had come with a determination to smash everything. Why else would they smash the TV and break the refrigerator? A militant cannot be hiding in there”.
Although CASO was able to flush out militants out of the residential area, it was also followed by subsequent civilian killings. What happened to Zareena is the common experience among the houses in this era.
On January 13, 2018, a similar, yet more horrific scenario happened in South Kashmir. These armed forces entered Midur village, in the town of Awantipora for a door-to-door search operation. They launched this search operation to look for any hiding militants. This time, Rumaisa (name changed on request) and her family’s house was on target. Her father was not at home. She had just finished her afternoon tea with her mother, and her 24-year-old brother. They ignored all those blaring from the loudspeaker, but soon they heard the outer gate of their homes flung by the Indian armed forces. They had a glimpse of what might happen. Rumaisa said:
“None of them said anything,” Rumaisa remembered. “They just kept smashing window panes with sticks, guns, and stones that were laying around.”
The entire family came and tried to stop these forces from smashing windows and destroying other households. Television, refrigerator, crockery; they had smashed everything. But this is not the end. There is more as well. Rumaisa’s words were as following.
“All of them pounced upon my brother and started kicking him everywhere. For a moment, I thought he would be killed. There was nothing I could do to stop them, so I jumped over my brother to cover him from them. But they did not even spare me,”
This was not all, one of the security men twisted her arm back, and said:
“I will drag you to Tral chowk, strip you naked, and shove this gun inside you.”
These words made Rumaisa so embarrassed that she could not speak a word. After hearing the security pannel’s words, Rumaisa’s mother begged them to leave by flunging her headscarf under his feet. That security man pushed her away and kicked Rumaisa’s brother again.
Parvez Imroz, Kashmir’s human rights lawyer said that beating civilians, sexual harassment, and vandalizing property are way too common during CASOs. To these security forces, men and women are equal. They harass males and females equally.
Talking about what pallet guns have done to the people in Kashmir, it does leave a long-lasting effect on the victims. Many citizens of Kashmir are rushed from different parts of the valley towards Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) located in Srinagar. The ophthalmology ward is found full by the pallets of the wounded patient. Most of the patients have pallets wounded on their face and torso. Many citizens of Kashmir including small children have lost their eyesight because of these pallet guns.
Although the Indian army does claim to Kashmir Blind Spot Campaign that these pellet guns are a non-lethal weapon but talking practically about these guns, these guns are normally used to hunt animals, not innocent people. 69 deaths are resulted due to these pallet guns. The KBSC reports that there were over 4500 people who were injured by pellet guns. The citizens
In 2016, Nasir, whose age was only 5 years was a victim of a pellet gun as well. He was found in hospital; his left eye was heavily bandaged. Nasir’s father told the doctor that his son was grabbed by security personal, and then a sharp metal object was inserted in his left eye.5
Kashmiris were dispersed with shotguns in august 2019 when they protested against the revocation of Article 370. On August 20, 2020, Indian armed forces opened fire through pallet guns, in a religious procession of Srinagar. Around 40 people were bruised and a lot of them were blinded. The world remained quiet and the Indians responded that if they don’t want to get shot, they better not come out on the streets. Pellet firing in the Kashmir valley started in 2010, and the international committee came to know about this matter in 2016 when the protest related to Burhan Wani’s death was a reason for thousands of injuries and 70 death cases.
Numerous tragedies happened in Kashmir but it often it is then summarized into the narrative “unfinished business of Partition.” This story forces a geostrategic focal point on the issue and prompts a reductive investigation about whether Kashmir has a place with either India or Pakistan, a discussion which India at that point further muddies by attempting to paint all Kashmiri resistance as ‘Islamic psychological oppressors’, a discussion which the remainder of the world has since a long time ago figured out how to ignore.
Kashmiris are not only the representation of unfairness: they are genuine individuals carrying on with genuine pain living in awful agony. They likewise have rights under worldwide law, rights which are by and large reliably abused. Independent of how the regional issue of Kashmir is in the end settled, there is a human angle to Kashmir which should be faced at this point. This isn’t only a dry legitimate contest to be bantered in course readings and workshops: India’s continuous utilization of shotguns is an atrocity. The human rights violation is too common, that they are even scared to step out of their house to bring essentials. The shopkeepers there are told to shut down their shops or else they would burn it. Kashmiris have to keep their address in their pockets every time they step out of their houses because they don’t know that at what moment they would be murdered by Indian armed forces. They keep it in their pockets so at least their dead bodies reach their home. No death certificates are being issued. They are not living a peaceful life, they are not living our lives. We have to speak up for them because when they speak, they are wounded by pellet guns.