“But you’re a Westener. You see how things are here. We have been living like this for twenty years. When you go back to your country you tell them. You ask them why they aren’t helping us.”
This is the first time in weeks I have had access to the internet. I have not been allowed to receive or send text messages for three months. Just like all Kashmiris my telephone has been barred from such contact. The local news channels have been banned. India controls everything here. And then kills it. The situation is horrific. Over these months of food rationing and persistent curfew whereby all is closed and the streets totally deserted in utter silence, suddenly a protest arises and then spreads throughout the whole city in a surge of frustrated and famished rioters shouting ‘AZADI AZADI AZADI’ (freedom) until it dissipates suddenly into a cacophony of gunshots and clouds of teargas.
I observe all this going on at a safe remove of only one metre by a big thick brick wall interrupted by the Mevlana Rumi gate to Kashmir University, where I am residing. I see through the iron bars hordes upon hordes of protesters being shot at randomly, and I stand there repellently incapable of doing anything. An endless cycle of silence and violence. The Indian army own total control and freedom to shoot at will, to shoot to kill, anyone whom they choose to.