"Kashmir: Paradise Lost"
Kashmir: A fertile valley which once was called Paradise on earth, is split between India and Pakistan but is claimed in full by both. Tens of thousands of people have died in a revolt against Indian rule in the state since 1989 and has become a dangerous place to live, its harvest merely razor wire and mines. Today after 17 years, while Pro-India leaders are busy discussing trades, borders, Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), Round Table Conferences, the Kashmiri people continue to face the arrogance, humiliation, injustice, torture, at the hands of an unjustified Indian Army presence. Kashmiris, in their own country, have been literally facing obituaries. Only the characters and places change, the stories are always the same, full of misery and tears in every Kashmiri family, caused by the ongoing conflict. Every human being has a threshold for pain and agony in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. They have lived all these troubled years and they are still well and alive to witness this suppression. But in the process their tears have dried up. They have lost normal human feelings to the adventures of facing day-to-day violence in their country. They are immune to the death of their people. They have developed an inability to mourn. Today, there are more than 500 graveyards dotting Kashmir, and every epitaph standing on a grave tells a story - a tragic story of Kashmiris generation.
In early July this year, the bodies of three young laborers killed by Indian troops were discovered in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, unleashing a wave of protests. Police fired tear gas at protesters in Srinagar and killed a 17-year-old student, who was simply passing by. Soon, young Kashmiris armed with stones were battling Indian troops, who responded with bullets. An intense military curfew followed. From July to September, the Kashmiri intifada raged on killing 110 and injuring at least 1,500.
Kashmiri men walk under a Chinar tree on a hilltop on the outskirts of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-held Kashmir, Saturday, 13 May, 2006.