The Precariousness of Life in Kashmir

The Precariousness of Life in Kashmir

In an encounter that broke out in a hamlet in Kupwara,  a seven year girl, Kaneeza was killed. Her brother, Faisal , was injured. According to the police, Kaneeza was killed by a “stray” bullet.  A cruel irony defines the death of Kaneeza.  At one level, the life of an innocent kid was snuffed  and at another life in Kashmir continues to be tenuous- all because of the conflict in and over Kashmir. Kaneeza must have had dreams and aspirations but these were killed. From a certain perspective, Kaneeza is not alone; many people have died during the militarized phase of the conflict in Kashmir. The conflict has spawned forces and dynamics that have a certain momentum and life of their own. These forces do  not discriminate between children, people and combatants. The dynamic they have spawned assumes a morbid force where death has stalked Kashmir since decades now.  All this is not to suggest that these large, anonymous forces are to be blamed squarely for the deaths of innocents like Kaneeza. There is a certain causality (cause and effect) that is involved in begetting and generating these forces. And causality implies and means space for intervention. That is, if there is a cause that leads to an effect, then there is scope for amelioration of the morbid conditions that define Kashmir.  Key is identifying the cause which is not rocket science. The cause is the conflict in Kashmir and the deaths that ensue are the effect. Common sense then suggests that if innocents are not to fall victim to the forces generated by the conflict in Kashmir and life held as a value and valued, then the conflict be resolved. This would constitute something bold and beautiful. But, if the past and present are any guide, it seems that truculence and stubbornness are the operating premises of powers that be towards Kashmir. The form and shape that this truculence takes is containment of the conflict. The lives lost and damage done appears to be viewed as an “ acceptable” price by these powers. In this schema, what appears to matter is not life but abstractions like sovereign writs and remits over territory.  Power and force are employed to maintain these. Broadly speaking, it is rigid adherence to this that many lives have been snuffed out in Kashmir. Kaneeza’s death then falls into a pattern and perspective. The young girl has gone; nothing can bring her back but what can save others falling into the same morbid pattern are vigorous attempts at resolving the underlying conflict and its various manifestations. Till then, life will continue to be precarious in Kashmir.

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