A masked Kashmiri protester shows victory sign after drawing a graffiti on the wall of a building in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. Kashmir is witnessing the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, sparked by the July 8 killing of a popular rebel commander by Indian soldiers. The protests, and a sweeping security crackdown, have all but paralyzed life in Indian-controlled Kashmir. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan) — Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Understand the Kashmir crisis through moving stories and commentary

We're sharing some of the most powerful articles on the Kashmiri struggle.
Published October 1, 2018

This piece was originally published on Dawn.com on September 28, 2018

In the ebb and flow of the conflict, the Kashmir dispute has always stoked powerful feelings and produced poignant stories.

With tensions high once more, here's a short list of some of Dawn's most vital coverage of Kashmir in recent years in the form of commentary and stories of direct experience of the struggle.

1. 'Fear rules Kashmir as BJP goes about realising its dream'

Yasin Malik, chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, writes for Dawn on the prevailing crisis in Kashmir, saying the Kashmiri people reject India's attempts to alter the demography of occupied Kashmir.

He says New Delhi is doing this in order to reduce the number of Muslims in the state to a minority so it can continue to keep the region under its control.

The fascists have for decades schemed to alter the demography of Kashmir in order to reduce the Muslims of the state to a minority.

Read the full piece here.

2. I'll never forget the day Burhan Wani was killed

Kashmiri writer and researcher Basharat Ali shares an account of the day he found out about the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, who was killed by Indian forces.

Ali recounts the aftermath of the news and the protests that followed Wani's killing, which were met by a severe crackdown from the Indian state.

By the next morning, the internet was blocked. People were expecting mobile networks to be shut by the government as well in order to restrict communication in the valley.

People know how the state functions. The Indian state’s oppression is as routinised in war-time as it is in peace-time.

Read the full account here.

3. What pellet guns have done to protesters in Kashmir

This photoblog by Kashmir-based photographer Ahmer Khan shares photographs and accounts of Kashmiri protesters — mostly teenagers and young men — injured by pellets in the occupied territory and the exhausted doctors treating them.

The Indian police claims that a pellet gun is a non-lethal weapon, but according to the Kashmir Blind Spot Campaign, the use of the gun — normally reserved for hunting animals — has resulted in dozens of deaths.

If not always fatal, it leaves a lifelong impact on the victims.

4. Editorial: Kashmir unrest

A masked Kashmiri protester shows the victory sign after drawing graffiti on the wall of a building in Srinagar. ─ AP
A masked Kashmiri protester shows the victory sign after drawing graffiti on the wall of a building in Srinagar. ─ AP

This editorial published in Dawn in August 2018 talks about the freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir and says that the Kashmiri people's disenchantment with Indian rule has only grown over time.

Today, one can say with certainty that there is immense public support for fighters taking on New Delhi’s law enforcers in the disputed territory. — From the editorial

It adds that the BJP-led government has adopted a tough position on the Kashmir imbroglio, and not only has this approach failed, it will continue to fail as the average Kashmiri is tired of living under the suffocating grip of Indian rule.

Read the complete editorial here.

5. Dispatch from Srinagar: Our nights are becoming longer and darker

In this piece, a young Kashmiri man Muhammad Faysal recounts the sense of brotherhood and community in the aftermath of protests and police brutality.

In these moments, amid the sounds of screeching pellets and laboured breathing, we witness what it takes to be a free people. A feeling of brotherhood unites us all, in a common dedication to the cause of freedom — a collaboration is sifted from aspirations.

The complete blog can be read here.

6. Where’s Kashmir in the new order?

In this piece, Malik argues that the fate of Kashmir and the Kashmiris appears to be stuck in the great game of international and power politics for all intents and purposes.

History suggests that the will of the people may be somewhat dulled by state power but can never be controlled and curbed. It will raise its head, time and again, under different guises.

You can read the complete article here.

7. Life on the LoC: how loss and suffering have marked a generation

This extract from Anam Zakaria's recent book Between the Great Divide: A Journey into Pakistan-Administered Kashmir shared on Dawn.com details how cross-border firing along the Line of Control has caused inter-generational psychological trauma.

In her book, Zakaria details her travels through Azad Kashmir to speak to the women and children living near the LoC, journalists and writers braving all odds to document events in remote areas, former fighters still committed to the cause, nationalists struggling for a united independent Kashmir and refugees yearning to reunite with their families.

Many people from our village became martyrs in the 1990s. We are right now sitting at my tai ammi’s (father’s elder brother’s wife) house. My first cousin, her eldest son, became a martyr too. A mortar hit him on his side and there was nothing left of his body. He was like minced meat. — Ayesha, one of the women who shared her stories with Zakaria

You can read the full excerpt shared on Dawn.com here.