Sopore: The walls of Sopore are once again painted with anti-India and pro-freedom graffiti, bringing back images of the years when Sopore was the nerve centre of militancy in Kashmir.
In Batpora locality, where street battles are fought on every Friday, slogans of resistance are painted on walls and shutters. Local youth go out in the night with brushes, spray cans and paint to express their political will through such graffiti.
This reporter met a few youth who said they fight on the streets with government troops whenever there is a shutdown call, and in the night paint the graffiti on walls and shop shutters. A 19-year-old who lives in Batpora said that he and his friends paint pro-freedom and anti-state graffiti on the walls in the locality, with the aim that visitors and Indian troops see these messages.
At the entrance of the town near the by-pass road is painted in big, bold red letters: “Burhan, The feel of Revolution”. It was painted during the uprising last year. Some distance away, on a pale yellow wall near the degree college in Sopore, is written in dark red letters: “Every problem has a solution, Kashmir has its own, i.e., Revolution.”
The narrow lanes of Batpora near the historic Jamia Masjid of Sopore, an area where Friday clashes with government troops has become the routine, numerous such graffiti can be seen everywhere. On a red-painted wall is written with white paint, “We will continue to fight against Indian occupation, whether I survive or not.”
Further down the road, a message describing the area as “Burhan’s Town” proclaims, “War till victory, Azadi.” On the shutter next to it, the words “Lashkar’s town” have been painted.
Deep in the locality of Batpora, a shutter has words on it written in black paint, “Shaheed Danish Chowk”. Danish was the 15-year-old boy who was killed during last year’s protests in Sopore town. He was killed when government forces opened fire on unarmed civilian protestors.
On the cemented parapet of a local transformer and on a petrol tank parked in the area, “Lashkar’s town” and “HM town” are written with white spray.
At the exit point of the locality, dark red paint on a green-coloured wall reads, “We had enough. Now it’s our stand: this is our fight, our land.”
A local shopkeeper told Kashmir Reader that no one knows who paints these slogans. “But whenever government forces have tried to erase these anti-state graffiti, they have had to face strong resistance from local youths,” he said.