Village that fights the fear of the ‘unknown’

Pattan: For the residents of Mehmood Pora, a village located around 8 Kilometers away from Pattan town in North Kashmir, the fear of ‘abduction’ is taking its toll, both on the education and the health of the kids and elders alike.

Soon after a boy namely Showket Ahmad—class 10 student student—went missing during the last week and was later found in Jammu, the scare of being taken away by ‘unknown persons’ is fast spreading swiftly among villagers who are not taking the risk of letting their young ones to venture out.

The ‘unknown’ scare, apart from developing psychological disorders, is taking a heavy toll on the education of the students living in the area.

“After the incident last week, there is a strange fear that is eating away the population from within. The phenomenon is not confined to a particular section, men, women and children-all are affected,” said Bashir Ahmad Ganaie, a resident of Mehmood Pora.

According to local teachers in the area, the students are scared to come out of their homes, even their parents are, in some cases not letting them to come out.

“This fear which is somehow looming around is taking a toll on the education of the siblings living in this area. The exams are around the corner and we don’t see students coming to their respective schools,” said a school teacher, whishing not be named.

With education standing affected, psychological issues are also taking roots in the area, especially the women folk in the area are growing suspicious of every stranger who comes to the village for any sort of work.

“This trend has made it difficult for the outsiders to come to this village. Even if it is of great importance no stranger dares to go into the village without a local accomplice,” said an elderly person, who prefers to remain anonymous.

In Mehmood Pora, business and evening hustle bustle comes to an end at 6 PM in the evening, with shutters going down at the time and people start heading home when the clock hits the six o’clock mark.

“This area used to be famous for its evening activities, with people assembling on shop fronts and discussing daily happenings, but now everything is gone,” said Muhammad Shaban, an elderly person of the area, adding that nobody in the village dares to move out of their homes after 6 PM and people prefer to stay indoors.

Even after moving indoors, the villagers don’t stay in peace and calm, with all their senses focused outside, “if there is a little movement outside after 6 in the evening, inmates are only left scared and after that they hardly sleep,” added Muhammad Shaban.

Last week, according to the villagers, when the missing boy was traced and brought home, the villagers were not able to sleep for five continuous nights, with announcements being made on loudspeakers that some strangers have been spotted in area, asking villagers to remain vigilant.

“Since then, same thing is happening on alternate nights, forcing us to stay wide awake,” Fayaz Ahmad, another resident said.

Interestingly, with the valley facing the menace of braid chopping, not a single case has been reported from the area, however what has taken over the village is the fear which seems to be unknown, coming out, nobody knows, in what form.

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