Imagine… imagine you and your family are having a late lunch in your house and the phone rings. No one was awaiting a call at this hour so you assume its something urgent. Your dad answers the phone and the look on his face creates immense suspense for everyone else. He hangs up and explains how your uncle who you’ve known for practically your whole life has been shot and killed just outside his house. Now I’m sure and hope none of you has ever encountered such a situation. But that wasn’t the case for me. I’m [name] and I’m from Kashmir.
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Why was my uncle killed? Who was he? These may be the questions flooding your heads. Well there’s a simple yet no so simple answer. He was a Kashmiri. He’d been killed in Azad Kashmir by a sniper from across the border. Oh wait there’s more. He was 76 years old. Now answer me this. Was my uncle a terrorist? Was he a freedom fighter? What had he done wrong? The answer… nothing. Now this is just my story. Not some random person’s and hence I wanted you to know what its like to lose someone you love over a nonexistent reason.
Human rights.. what are they? Well I’m pretty sure many of the other speakers have given you all a bit of insight on what they are. Now do people in Jammu get their basic human rights. Well let me elaborate. Do the “MUSLIM COMMUNITY” in Jammu get their rights? Now as little as the difference is in the questions, the answers are totally different. The Muslims in Kashmir not only get stripped of their rights, they’re abused physically and verbally. Not just that; they live in a constant state of anxiety as they don’t know when the abuse may begin again. And finally the ultimate violation of the most basic human right. LIFE!
Its quite seldom that you see such forms of torture being broadcast in the general media. Is it that such actions don’t happen or is it that the media is too indifferent to broadcast such a small matter? Yeah I said small matter. It doesn’t describe the reality or severity of the matter but the portrayal of it. The local news doesn’t broadcast such atrocious behavior from our enemies; is it possible that they believe such things aren’t true or is it that they don’t want to shed light on it. Let me tell you something. It’s not hate which kills people. Its indifference. Indifference to the heinous murderers across the border; indifference to the lives of 6 million Muslim Kashmiris.
When did we all become so indifferent? So unconcerned with the Kashmiri people. Are we not still your brothers? Is it still not “Kashmir Bane ga Pakistan?”. What was our fault? We as Kashmiris thought Pakistan was part of us, that everyone in it loved us. That they were trying to set us free from those barbarians. Now what we feel is that the reason Kashmir issue is still alive is that there’s no more sympathy for us. We have realized that many people have had a personal motive to bring up the Kashmir issue; when it fulfilled their reasons, they forgot it like everyone else. Like Politicians used it for a election campaign, many people use it for likes or attention on social media. For me it’s much more.. It’s part of me. It’s home.
The only people trying to free Kashmir and take a stand are those so called “terrorists” who challenge the Indian soldiers. Answer this question. Am I a terrorist to want Kashmir to be returned to Pakistan. For us Muslims to be granted our rights? As far as I know killing innocent Kashmiris doesn’t make someone a terrorist. Torturing men, women, children doesn’t make someone a terrorist. It’s those who want a free land who are terrorists.
Srinagar is a medieval city dying in a modern war. It’s empty streets, locked shops, angry soldiers and boys with stones. Its several thousand military bunkers, four golf courses, and three book-shops. Its wily politicians repeating their lies about war and peace to television cameras and small crowds gathered by the promise of an elusive job or a daily fee of a few hundred rupees. It is stopping at sidewalks and traffic lights when the convoys of rulers and their patrons in armored cars, secured by machine guns, rumble on broken roads. It is staring back or looking away, resigned. Srinagar is never winning and never being defeated.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. Kashmiris are the definition of Survivors. Living on microscopic grains of figurative hope. But for now, ladies and gentlemen, I, [name] am a terrorist.