A woman in despair looks at her damaged house during the Kashmir floods that devestated the valley in September 2014.
The Photographer is unknown.
When the armed insurgence against India began in Kashmir valley in 1989, the people of Kashmir, tout de suite, were put in harm’s way through persecution by Indian troops which would continue for years to come. Republic Day of India was one such occasion. At a time when the whole of India was commemorating of being a republic. The people of Kashmir were subjected to the countless transgressions both physically and mentally.
The repugnance of republic day would engulf the valley a week before the actual day. The glittery feel of markets suddenly changed and a grip of panic loomed all over the valley giving it a deserted look. The people were locked down inside their houses. It was like a literal house arrest of entire valley. All the bastions were heavily fortified with large number of military personnel. The military command issued “Shoot At Sight” orders against all the civilians roaming outside. As Kashmir moved close to the Republic Day, the jitters began to grow. The normal life of Kashmir was disrupted badly. Discussions took place on how to prevent the inevitable threat of facing torture. In that regard, the youth were strictly urged by the family elders to migrate to remote areas so as to avoid being excruciated.
It was on the eve of the Republic Day that most gunfights between Indian troops and the rebels took place. The heavy sound of shelling left people in cold sweat. People used to make rough guesses about the location where the gunfight was taking place. What followed next, was an intense search by the armed forces in a quest to track down the rebels. The forces countered their growing frustration by interrogating and battering civilians. The search parties were formed from civilians at the gun point. Dragged out on roads people were detained for hours (A practice commonly known as Crackdown). It gave troops an easy access to the cleared houses of those detained. Kashmiri women faced sexual harrassment by the hands of Indian military. They looted and ransacked the properties. All this was being done in the name of security.
The titular kashmiri politicians, through Indian troops, browbeat the people forcibly to flag ceremonials in an attempt to mislead the world portraying kashmiri’s as any other normal citizens of India.
This systematic torture was kept being repeated by the world’s largest democracy on every Republic Day in the turbulent decade of 1990.
26th January is celebrated as Black Day all across Kashmir.