ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Curfewed in Kashmir: Voices from the Valley

Poets, lawyers, writers, activists and doctors speak about the current crisis in Kashmir and what daily life in a regime of curfews and urban unrest means to them.

This piece is part of a collaborative writing project called “Voices from the Valley”, composed of youth voices from Kashmir. We asked poets, lawyers, writers, activists, and doctors to submit their interpretations of the current crisis. Rather than have others speak for them, we wanted to create a forum where Kashmiris could speak for themselves.

Contributors: Umar Ahmed; Haley Duschinski; Sajid Iqbal; Aadil Kak; Mehran Khan; Jasim Malik; Dr Junaid Nabi; Feroz Rather.

Since 1989, civilian life in Kashmir has been governed through the presence of more than half a million troops, making the region the most heavily militarised zone in the world. This, despite the fact that last year, official government figures put the number of militants operating in the Valley at less than 500.

Since 2008, Kashmiris, especially the young, have been waging a new form of rebellion against the Indian state known as the “second revolution”. Expressing their demands through public protests often punctuated with stone pelting rather than guns, Kashmiris have launched this “second revolution” through a massive, sustained, and predominantly non- violent, civil disobedience movement in the streets. These protests are expressions of widespread dissatisfaction with what Kashmiris view as a defunct justice delivery system and gross violations of human rights that have occurred under Indian rule in the larger context of their persistent demands for the right to self-determination. Since June such protests have been met with disproportionate force from the Indian paramilitary, leading to the deaths of at least 60 civilians and the arrests of hundreds more, heralding what Kashmiris are calling, “The Year of Killing Youth”.

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