‘India snatched our rights, humiliated us, there will be a reaction’

Srinagar October 22 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, a Kashmiri scholar said that there is silence because an Indian soldier stands at every 10 feet on the road but there will be a reaction.

A team of Kashmiri journalists who visited several districts of occupied Kashmir including Shopian and Pulwama said the locals describe a climate of fear, accusing Indian forces of nightly raids, arbitrary arrests, and the torture of Kashmiri youth.

Feroz Ahmad Ganai, 19, who was interrogated by Indian troops for four days in September, said soldiers questioned him for four days, accusing the teen of hurling a grenade at a military camp. “I kept repeating that I’m innocent, but they didn’t listen,” Ganai told the media team. “Then they started beating me one after another.”

Ganai was one of seven young Kashmiris interviewed by the journalist team who said they were tortured since the 5 August lockdown began. Locals said it’s part of a violent pattern being pursued by the occupation forces, which target villages supporting freedom struggle.

“India has snatched our rights and humiliated us,” said Shabbir Dar, a university student. “There will be a reaction.”

Analysts say the past three months of crackdown have deepened local resentment while some warn that India’s actions continue to fuel armed struggle rather than contain it.

“There is silence because a soldier stands at every 10 feet on the road,” said Siddiq Wahid, a political analyst and former head of the Islamic University of Science and Technology in Pulwama. “People are not going to take this contempt silently. There will be a response, but it remains to be seen what form it takes.”

A group of young men stood outside a shuttered shop, discussing the nightly raids that have spread fear throughout the community like at Panjran in Pulwama and Shopian districts

“You will leave in a while, and then we have to face the wrath of troops in the evening for speaking to the media,” said Muzaffar, who asked that his full name not be used because he feared reprisal.

Indian soldiers have used black paint to mark numbers onto each house and shop in Panjran and other villages. Villagers said the India army started painting the numbers weeks before the 5 August crackdown began. “The numbers help them easily locate any house during military operations,” said Wali Muhammad, an elderly resident.

Ajai Sahni, Executive Director of the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management, warned of a rise in protests once curfews and other restrictions are eventually lifted. Young Kashmiris, he said, have “nothing to lose and are ready to put their lives on the line”.

The current crackdown and India’s larger move to strip Kashmir,s special status “will strengthen the anti-India narrative and further push young boys to take extreme steps”, said Wahid, the political analyst.“I hope it doesn’t happen, but the hopelessness is all-pervasive.”

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