By Haziq Qayoom
Dear Mr. Khan:
I’m just another young Kashmiri who was humiliated by one of your men stationed at Nagbal, Ganderbal. I’m not going to pick up the gun like Burhan did, neither have I, a desire to inflate my ego, of picking up a pen, to say I didn’t pick up the arms, and choose a way which is rather wise, because in Kashmir, nothing is wise, only the bullets, curfews, killings, pellets, tear gas, encounters and stray bullets among many other tyrannical make sense. I’m writing this to you in a little hope, and with a bit of my demonstration, to know what you mean by you had said about the innocent people who get entangled in this bloody warfare: “Approach me.”
So here I am,
I was travelling to college when a bit of an altercation between a CRPF solider and me happened when he was not letting us go by the side, but making us breathe the dust and smoke his vehicle was making. I signalled him to don’t-break-the-rules, to which he flipped a bird, and hurled abuses while he was driving. Past forward, near the petrol pump Nagbal, my friend and I, stopped the vehicle to get money out of the ATM, the CRPF vehicle that was lagging us stopped, and the driver came running. At first, I thought he dropped off to get money, but he only advanced at me, and asked, what did I mean by gesturing. He snagged me, but I resisted with my words, and the locals soon joined in, to calm the tense situation down. I wasn’t afraid of him, because I was remorseless, because I had not done anything wrong. It seemed to me, he, too, wanted to end up with the squabble that had no meaning but foolishness. But before the storm, there’s always calm, so came our dearest Kashmiri brother, the D.O Nagbal.
He only asked, to the other men around, who is who, and then ran at me like a thug born out of a thief.
“Why do you want to make a trouble here?” He asks.
“I…” He doesn’t let me finish.
“Does the LeT give you the money?” He asks.
“I’m affiliated with any…” again, he doesn’t let me finish with my talks.
“Where are you from?” He asks, bitterly, with red-winey cheeks.
“Bandipora,” This time he does let me finish, but he slaps me, so hard that it could be heard along the 90-Feet road, as tears brims in my eye socket.
“Where’s your evidence that I did anything wrong?”
He again raises to slap me, but this time, his short stature falls short of my face, and I get only half of it.
He desperately reaches for the rod that is with his one of the companions, but thanks to the locals, who stop him by, there.
He then goes on to abuse me “Behenchod!”
I babble something like, “Kyun?”
The locals, only those few men who again consoled this tyrannical man, stand witness to this, and God himself. Had they not calmed him down, I would have just been an another headline for the day, and buried under the thought-out statement of police, and perhaps my body and soul would have remained alive in the Indian media newsrooms as well.
I just have one question for you all, why you have yet not enough of us?
What wrong did we ever do to you?
At the end of the day, I am glad it all happened, otherwise I wouldn’t have been to able to ask my own conscience, and the people who might read this, “Did all the people who died to police bullets and torture in 2016, 2017, 2010, 08, and back in 90s throw stones? How many innocents are in the files with their cases forever closed?”
For God’s sake, will you stop?
Mr Muneer Khan, I haven’t met you or seen you in person, but let me tell you, with full assurance, you are, and have, and will always fail us Kashmiris, until the men like these are in the police, who put the young hearts through humiliation, and push them to the wall.
—The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org