Photographers' Blog

The most difficult thing to shoot in Kashmir…

May 27, 2009

During nearly two decades of violent Kashmir conflict, I have covered fierce gun battles, between Indian soldiers and Muslim militants, suicide bombings, rebel attacks, massacres, protests, mayhem, violent elections and disasters.

But the question that always comes to mind is “what is the hardest to shoot?’

I always remember protests or riots, clashes between stone throwing protesters and gun-toting Indian troops. Stress levels quickly rise as me and my text colleague, Sheikh Mushtaq, realize that our assignment will not be easy whenever we go out, mostly on Fridays, the day when Muslims offer congregational weekly prayers, which turn into weekly protests against Indian rule in Kashmir.

There is literally no place to hide and shooting is nearly impossible when angry protesters take to the streets and rocks rain down; Indian troops retaliate with tear gas shells, rubber bullets and many times with live ammunition. Most of the time we, with protective gear and camera equipment strapped to our shoulders in backpacks, are stuck in the narrow streets of downtown Srinagar as impatient crowds and ruthless troops battle for hours.

Blood is always spilled in the streets of Kashmir where tens of thousands of people have been killed in two decades of an anti-India insurgency.

It was a pleasant and beautiful day in Srinagar, a city of over one million ringed by snow-capped Himalayan mountains, but tear gas brings bittersweet tears to my eyes and rocks sometime make me bleed. I clutch my camera, adjust the focus and aperture and keep on shooting masked rioters and police replying with slingshots, teargas shells and bullets. A rock came towards me, I ducked but it hit another cameraman. He was bleeding lying beside me. On many occasions, I had to drop my camera and take care of injured reporters and photojournalists. Several times even I was not lucky.

Years back I was hit by a tear gas shell and then enveloped by a cloud of dust and tear gas smoke. As the tear gas shell exploded between my legs and tore my calf muscle badly. Mushtaq from a distance was looking at me helplessly as the rattle of gun fire followed screams and cries for help. I was bleeding and fell unconscious. After hours I found myself in a hospital and later spent months in bed missing the thrill of photography.

When Kashmir last year faced some of the biggest anti-India protests in nearly 20 years, photojournalists faced the wrath of security forces and angry protesters.  Many of us were beaten up by riot police and demonstrators, protesting Indian rule in the disputed region. They break our cameras and sometimes beat us with batons and gun butts.

It is painful and disturbing but when I see people writhing in blood and dying with bullet wounds, my pain disappears and I feel guilty when police do not allow us to photograph the tragedy. I feel disappointed when they stop us after ambulances and hospitals are attacked.
People often ask “what is the most difficult to shoot in a conflict zone?”  I always say “protests or rioting.”

Comments
95 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Moving and sad tale…I solute these journslaists

Posted by dr shugufta | Report as abusive
 

It very unfortunate that things have gotten this worse. Whether Pakistan is behind insurgency or not, over the past two decades, public sentiments in Kashmir have become anti-Indian and people are alienated enough to seek independence. Indian military has a special law effective there where they do not have to be held accountable for any violations. Military is trained to be brutal, no matter which country it represents. As it is police and military in most Asian countries are extremely brutal and their torture of innocents during interrogation is famous. For Kashmir, Indian government has to bring in accountability for the security forces, and take measures to assuage public feelings. If they raise anti India slogans, so long as it is peaceful, no one should be hit. The people are watching the latest developments in the region. Going with Pakistan is not in their minds. India, if it is interested in keeping Kashmir, should bring in good will building measures. Let us hope Man Mohan Singh gives Kashmir a high priority.

 

Fayaz,
This is the wrong forum for your topic on Kashmir or India. This is a Pakistani Blog and the Topic is: “Pakistan: Now Or Never?”

Indian Govt should ban journalists from going to disturbed areas or protests. Look how Russia, China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are treating journalists in disturbed areas. When these “PRESS” people mix with protesters or are standing with the wrong side of the crowd the job of the police becomes extra extra difficult.

Journalists in India got TOO MUCH freedom and the Indian govt is too much proud of openness. No other place on earth, you will get 3 days of live coverage of Mumbai Carnage!

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Oppression could not stand in South Africa, black protesters were packed in jails. When the uprising began no one could stand it, the aparthied fell apart.
In Kashmir, the voice of independence will keep getting stronger and stronger. If India truly aspires to be and presents itself to be a democracy than it should not resort to oppression. China is always criticized of its human rights records, but India’s record is never highlighted. Journalists are not allowed to film the human rights abuses in Kashmir, and in Kashmir there is definitely human rights abuses taking place.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

The other day I had to travel to downtown Srinagar for a meeting. I was travelling in my car, when I was suddenly stopped by a contingent of CRPF (Indian paramilitary force) at the entrance of the down town Srinagar popularily known as Shehri – Khaas locally. Shehri-Khass means the real city. In the backdrop of Martyr’s graveyard where thousands of young men have been put to rest during past 20 years, the entrance to the real city is the most resilient part of the besieged city. I was stopped at the entry point violently and bang! In a giffy windscreen of my innocent car was no more. In a shock, I could muster only these words. “I am innocent sir, do not beat me”. They ordered, “Show your I card”. I quickly reached to my wallet, took my old version Income tax PAN card out and gave it to the cops with shivering hands. They saw it and said, “O! You are our own person, you work in the Income tax department.” Before I could tell them that I do not work there but am a tax payer for which I have got the card, they ordered me to leave and advised me to tell everyone that protesters broke the glass. They ordered me to do so in the national interest of India.
I left the place and wondered how brutes like these, are going to protect National Interest of India when they even can not read an I- Card. I am still wondering….

Posted by Afaaq | Report as abusive
 

–Tough job indeed..& a thankless one for the brave Indian security forces.

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Don’t they teach you in photography school not to stand on the wrong side of the gun?

Not a good idea to stand in the middle of a teenage mob!

Posted by Watson | Report as abusive
 

The sentiment in Kashmir is that of anger. Kashmiris are angry because there is an army, the Indian army, which does not understand our grievances. Instead, it attacks us. It claims to be here to protect us, when really all it does is abuse its powers, rape innocent Kashmiri women, carry out allegedly fake encounters.

We, the common citizens of Kashmir, understand that the army is here to fight cross-border terrorism via Pakistan. However, this does not give them the right to make our lives a living hell. If India really wants to keep Kashmir, and make Kashmiris proud to be Indian (which seems very unlikely at the moment), then the Indian government needs to show some good will. It needs to learn to compromise. It needs to, firstly, remove the army (or take away its special powers), bring justice to all those Kashmiris who suffered at the hands of the Indian army.

The popular sentiment in Kashmir is of azaadi (freedom). But many Kashmiri’s know that full-out independence is not an option for Kashmir. Joining Pakistan is also not an option, especially with all the turmoil and extremism which exists in Pakistan. When one talks about azaadi, what one really wants is to be able to roam around freely on the streets, without curfews & terror attacks. We want to be able to go to the Mosque, without the Indian army shutting it down forcefully. We want both the militants, and Indian army to stop harassing innocent civilians, and kidnapping our relatives. This is what ‘Azaadi’ is to us. I think to solve the Kashmir issue, the best solution is greater autonomy for Kashmir. Full-out independence is not viable. And a merger with Pakistan will be deadly.

Remaining a part of India can work, if the Indian government promises us greater autonomy, and removes its army from the state. We want to be a part of India’s economic success story. But India needs to learn to respect our grievances. It has to do a lot to reconcile the alienated Kashmiris. And this will take decades. Let’s start now.

Posted by Kashmir | Report as abusive
 

India should follow SWAT example and sign a surrender deal the Talibans in Kashmir. Then beg for billions from US, UN and go back to Kashmir with F-16s and tanks.

Posted by Riaz | Report as abusive
 

Afaaq,
Although I feel sorry for your car glass and your moments of embarassament, you should be proud of these policemen who sacrifice their lives to give you security and freedom. You are lucky that you have a home to go back to, car to drive around and stable income to pay tax and an elected government to meet your demands.

Many of your friends in SWAT don’t have that luxury! Govt and army are so corrupt and blind in SWAT that SWATis are homeless, jobless, hopeless refugees and can’t even go back to SWAT.

Posted by Riaz | Report as abusive
 

Kashmir
“Let’s start now.”
— Agreed. The Army must be removed from civilian areas & deployed on the borders, it’s the job of the elected govt. to strengthened the police force for counter-insurgency & maintaining law & order. Kashmir is the only state which has it’s own constitution, but if there’s space for more autonomy, then why not, it must be given. Yes – Let’s start now.

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Afaaq,
Had India given this level of security to Mumbai, sad events of 26/11 would not have happened.

If you have 2 choices,
1. Extra security, but your freedom and life is protected or

2. Less security, but everyday is another Lahore in Srinagar and you never know if you will meet your family again

What’s your pick?

Posted by Riaz | Report as abusive
 

Kashmiris who are ranting and raving about “the atrocities” perpetrated on them by the Indian army should ask themselves this question: Was it always so? No, it was not. From 1947 until 1989, you couldn’t see the army visible anywhere in Kashmir. And, then militants from across started to come in. If you had been interested in peace, you would have reported them to local administration and not provide security and succor to them. They created havoc, making it impossible for common folk to run their lives. And then something much more serious happened. The local law enforcement started to show solidarity with the slowly increasing rebellion. The minority of Kashmiri Pandits were hounded out of their homes to become perhaps the only community in the world refugees in their own country. What was the government supposed to do? The army was called in. In spite of the fact that Indian army takes every care to minimize the loss of innocents, collateral damage does occur. Indian army will not retreat. How much impact its presence has will depend on the local population. Those who love peace and want army to be withdrawn and the draconian laws at present enforced to keep peace withdrawn, must cooperate actively with it by handing over the miscreants crossing the border. Remember 1965, when Field Marshall Ayuoob Khan of Pakistan conducted Operation Gibralter to foment rebellion in Kashmir? He couldn’t carry out his mischief because the local population handed over every saboteur to the law enforcement. Until every citizen helps the army to keep peace, innocents will always suffer.

Posted by G.Din | Report as abusive
 

By: Colonel A.M. Khajawall {Ret}, MD. ABFM., ABDA.
“Great grand gestures-Yes. Grand posturing-No!”
And
“For the triumph of evil it is necessary that the concerned people do nothing”

Dear loggers, editors, readers, and prognosticators,

As the spokesman of Kashmir American Mission categorically announce that the announced Kashmir
Elections are being simply orchestrated and conducted to dupe and
deceive the world. Sadly. the elections always meant to deprive the
occupied and oppressed people of Kashmir the freedom.The elections
processes are always meant to deny and delay the occupied,tormented, and oppressed
people of Kashmir to decide their future freely, fairly without any
fear and favour.

Kashmir has been and is militarized like a massive concentration camp on the Top of the world.
In
this environment of massive concentration camp situation of any election
will be free and fair is one more big, and tragic joke played onto
“Tormented People of Kashmir .”
Sadly the participants, announcers
and planners of this futile, fictitious, and farce election exercise
have little or no concern about the over one billion people of
Indo-Kash-Pak region. Who in mp professional and personal opinon was working against the stability in the region and towards self destruction of India, Kashmir, and Pakistan.

The sensibility and sanity of sincere
people of Indo-Kash-Pak region who will look for the future of over one
billion people caught up in this personal, partisan political
brinkmanship and posturing at the cast of your freedom, dignity, and honor.

Above observations and suggestions are made by every fiber of my body, heart, and brain and heavy heart and profound sadness. The parties
to conflict are simply playing with your future and rest of over one
billion people of the region.

Let me assure you that the day is
not too far away when the virtuous, wise, and visionary people will
work hand in hand and remove your and their thorn [s] once for all.Long live people of Kashmir, India, Pakistan, and rest of the world.
The
solution is tripartite dialogue with the help of impartial and
committed world powers and leaders. The Line to Control which is The
Line of Conflict has to go and sooner the better. The beautiful and
better way to bring peace to people of Kashmir and Indo-Pak region is
summarized as PTP [Peace Thru Plebiscite]. or at the round table. The
world and We [USA] can help.

India has for last 63 years delayed this process and no India is playing
terrorism card. I am sure our new president barrack Hussain Obama will
motivate the parties to solve this core Kashmir issue amicably,
peacefully, and permanently.
Submitted sincerely for publications.
COL. Ali M. Khajawall, [Retd] MD, ABFM. ABDA

Posted by COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret] | Report as abusive
 

Yes Islam such a peaceful religion.
Usually on Fridays or after Muslim weekly prayers.

When will the world have enough of this and people who defend themselves shoot back with live ammunition, not have to make excuses for it.

These people are purposely bringing it on themselves, teaching their children to be violent. If we dont show that people will be dealt with and are responsible for their actions, what will the next generation be like – more bombs, bigger rocks, greater hate?!

Posted by Jabberwolf | Report as abusive
 

Afaaq & Kashmir,

I completely empathize with Kashmiris like yourselves, who are caught between a rock & a hard place for no fault of you own. I understand why you would want the Indian Government to demilitarize Kashmir but then who would stop Pakistani ‘non-state actors’ from crossing into Indian territory & creating havoc?

A lot of hue & cry is often made (mostly by Pakistanis) about the ‘atrocities’ being committed by the Indian military in Kashmir but those very people hardly ever talk about the countless killings of Kashmirs conducted by Pakistani terrorists, who infiltrate into Indian Kashmir & terrorize anyone who doesn’t buy their anti-India agenda. I accept that the Indian military is also responsible for the injustices at some level but then that’s what happens when 500,000 troops patrol an area with a population of 2 million. At the end of the day, who’s responsible for the presence of the Indian military in the valley?
The truth is that if it wasn’t for Pakistan’s vengeful obsession to ‘bleed India with a thousand cuts’ with it’s proxy armies consisting of ‘non-state actors’, today Kashmir would’ve been a peaceful & prosperous place, just like it was 2 decades ago. Ironically, today Pakistan itself is bleeding with ten thousand cuts.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

Kashmir and Afaaq:

Then why Sajid lone lost in Loksabha election and even lost bid if I am not wrong? Any idea of this discrepency. And I heard this time the election turnut was good. So what’s the deal. Is it that some who face stick are highlighted and others who don;t have been quiet but spoke through BALLOT?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@We want both the militants, and Indian army to stop harassing innocent civilians, and kidnapping our relatives. This is what ‘Azaadi’ is to us.
-BY Kashmir

Kashmir: has there been ever a time between 1947 and before the terrorism started and Army intervened (and the trouble started) when the ‘Azaadi’ as defined above was existing?

I think there was and that was when this Pakistan’s pro-terror policy started. That was unpalatable to Pakistan and rest you know the history. But I agree there has to be some start where an innocent should be able to live a normal life. If it was achievable it would have been done–I hope terrorists start having some dress code if they are as brave as they claim.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

It is a sad myth that overwhelming force always succumbs to a persistent guerrilla attack, in fact the opposite is generally true as history has shown us in Sri Lanka if the government is willing to be ruthless and brutal enough, and persistent.. the guerrillas will eventually be broken, or even exterminated holocaust style.

The UN needs to step in here.

 

i do not know of even one instance anywhere in the Muslim world where any insurgents victory has brought anybody a better,safer life. Not even one…if anything it always results in a much fiercer,more corrupt, arbitrary enforced and much dirtier place. it is especially bad when it involves the various insane Muslim sects and different tribes. Life was so,so much better back in the 60′s….

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive
 

Wow! This is a fascinating article. I always knew things were difficult and incendiary in the provinces north of India. It appears that, as one commentator above indicates, things were amorphous from the perceived side of northern India (around the time of British exit, through 1989, about the time of Int’l. Equity Arbitrage, high-low capital base inter-jurisdictional redux, a la USA “reaganomix” thatcher supply side — not the best of worlds for those on the working and earnings side of the ledger, but quite sanguine for the capital side of accounts. How well I should know: highly educated, nevertheless of working class roots, my Irish great grandfather was up in the Khyber Pass keeping peace for the Royals back in the early 1890s prior to emigrating to the states — then 4 generations in-zone for USA: I, II, Vnm, Iraq, Operation Freedom — I say pull ‘em out, let the whole place tear up — the bankers all be damned!!! USA DoD is tired and used, abused… how long will Mumbai with Hollywood special effex offshore coupled with call-in tech centers hold out — hmmm…. I wonder… without production in-country USA, no innovation, without innovation or work, no morale, without morale, no fight… so on and so forth… still, do remember, we do love the USA!!! It’s just that we are tired of giving it away from the working, earning and producing side to the wealth, extracting and consuming dievestors [sic].

 

Sadly, religion and over population have ruined much of the world. The problems of India and Pakistan are fueled by poverty and intolerance of others by those who believe they know God’s will. If people could only refrain from hurting others, it would be a small step in the right direction.

Posted by Michael Drescher | Report as abusive
 

the sooner Kashmiris realize that violence will not solve their problems, the better it is. The whole world including India is becoming prosperous but Kashmir and Pakistan sink deeper. also what happens to millions of Muslims in India if Kashmir goes to Pakistan ..there will be massive riots.

Posted by Ruchi | Report as abusive
 

This Photography (or Kashmir) stuff is boring ..

A lot more happening in Pakistan .. Lahore .. SWAT .. Bajure .. Dir .. FATA .. Karachi ..

People are dying ..starving .. getting bombed.. F-16s, Tanks .. billions of $$$ … nuke spying to N Korea ..

Bombing Shows Pakistan Militant Groups Uniting
http://abcnews.go.com/International/stor y?id=7692487&page=1

“Ultimately we’re going to reach a tipping point where the Taliban will have opened so many fronts in Northern Pakistan, in Punjab, that it will be almost impossible for the army to deploy against so many fronts which are so distant from each other geographically,” says Ahmed Rashid, the author of “Descent into Chaos” and who lives in Lahore

Musharraf recently bought a multi-million dollar mansion in London. There is something these people know that they are not telling us!

Posted by Riaz | Report as abusive
 

Fayaz,

@”People often ask “what is the most difficult to shoot in a conflict zone?” I always say “protests or rioting.”:

I am no photographer but had i been one, the most difficult to shoot would be to shoot(Photography) bodies of innocent people killed by terrorist in front of wailing relatives and family members. Ex Kaluchak and Chattisinghpura.

You admit that law enforcement not always use live ammunition but use slings, tear gas shells then how come you qualify them ruthless?

What you called “impatient” crowd is actually violent crowd and world over law enforcement deals with violent mob using batton, tear gas and lastly with live bullets.Why should Kashmir be any different from any other place in the world? And your photographs substantiate (esp the cowering policeman) that Indian Govt use ammunition as last resort.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

Scott,

Mate you need to do a lot of reading of good books to develop a correct prespective

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

US moved B-52s and gunship helicopters to stop Pakistan from signing another SWAT deal with Talibans.
http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php  ?id=145889
http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php  ?id=145836

USAF in the sky and Taliban-army on the ground, where would common Pakistanis go?

Posted by Riaz | Report as abusive
 

The continued Indian occupation of Kashmir is neither legal nor moral. It’s illegal because it violates security council resolutions 47(1948) of 21 April, 1948, 51(1948) of 3 June, 1948, 80 (1950) of 14 March, 1950 and 91(1951) of 30 March, 1951, that are binding on all UN member nations. It’s immoral because it breaks repeated pledges to the people of Kashmir in late 40s and early 50s by Indian prime minister and various Indian officials.

As Pervez Hoodbhoy points out in the following video, Kashmir has become the cause celebre for the radicals on both sides of the border and threatens the future of all of South Asia. Settling Kashmir is crucial to defeat the extremists and bring some normalcy to relations between India and Pakistan that could eventually lead to a common market greatly benefiting all of South Asia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LLnuglrW 34

 

Raw strikes again in Lahore
http://paktribune.com/news/index.php?id= 215325

Taliban group claims Pakistan blast
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2 009/05/200952804641591199.html

Who do u believe??

Posted by Riaz | Report as abusive
 

@India has for last 63 years delayed this process and no India is playing terrorism card. I am sure our new president barrack Hussain Obama will motivate the parties to solve this core Kashmir issue amicably,
peacefully, and permanently.”
- Posted by COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret]

@The Line to Control which is The Line of Conflict has to go and sooner the better. The beautiful and better way to bring peace to people of Kashmir and Indo-Pak region is summarized as PTP [Peace Thru Plebiscite]. or at the round table”
- Posted by COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret]

Col. Khajawall: India is playing no terrorist card, India is facing terrorism. Are you in USA facing terrorism or not?
A recipe for delaying or not at all solving Kashmir issue is to have an unrealistic goal and that one solution is the disppearance of Line of Control. First Independent kashmir is neither part of UN resolution nor viable. Second neither India nor Pakistan will accept to give away respective Kashmirs. LoC will become an international border.

Also, the Indian Army’s iron fist is not hard to understand. Nearly 20yrs since the terrorism started, the situation Indian Army approach in Kashmir is softer when compared to Swat by pakistan and Kashmir is like a day on the beach when compared to Isreal-Palestine.

Regarding USA: USA has been helping Isreal-Palestine for long time and we know the progress. As a president elect, Mr. Obama could not give a statement when Isreal was throwing white phoshorous on Gazans and killed 1000 of mostly civilians. I hope if he ever gets a chance to be involved in Kashmir issue, he is honest and sincere.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Who do u believe??
- Posted by Riaz

Huh! I always thought our media is worst!

Posted by Cho - N Korean | Report as abusive
 

Amnesty targets Pakistan and SLanka rights records
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/art icle/ALeqM5gGWSEVYQAf3m3izUhXg74D1GIrww

Oops! Pakistan was training SLanka how to fight a civil war.

Posted by Riaz | Report as abusive
 

This blog should not be here it deserves a separate thread. However, with all the past and present comotion in Pakistan I would find it truly hard to believe that Kashmiris would annex to Pakistan. The last thing India needs is a situation like Swat in the direct north of the country. Pakistan is going to carry on suffering more and more from these Taliban attacks. It will keep on begging the world for more and more aid, loans…etc with no conditions due to these attacks. However, when these attacks do occur all we will get is the usual blame game of:
-Hindu/Zionist conspiracies.
-India funded Taliban via 12 consulates in Afghanistan.

We do not want these incidents occurring in India, so the soldiers will remain in Kashmir.

This is certainly not the time to start offering pathetic, empty gestures of ‘goodwill’ with hand shakes and smiles for the world media.

However, the REALITY on the ground will always provide the concrete evidence (see headlines below). Pakistan has received BILLIONS of dollars as money and other aid yet the IDPs from the Swat region are eating food unfit for cows in the Jalozai refugee camp (CNN).

Pakistani Taliban claim bombing (BBC News, 28/05/2009)

Pakistani militants in bomb attack on offices of police chief and spy agency (The Guardian, 28/05/2009)

Taliban group claims Pakistan blast (Al Jazeera, 28/05/2009)

Lahore bomb attack seen as Swat revenge (Gulf Times, 27/05/2009)

Pakistan: Trio held after deadly blast kills 27 (CNN, 28/05/2009)
-Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistan Taliban, had threatened to target major Pakistani cities if the operations did not cease.

‘Punjabi Taliban’ claim Lahore suicide bombing: monitors (Dawn, 28/05/2009)

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

I love these blogs!

Posted by Derrick | Report as abusive
 

“Ruthless” Indian Security forces? What do you want them to do when faced with an ignorant crowd who after Friday prayers practice stone throwing like brain washed maniacs. YOU are like all the other people in that crowd who enjoy the freedom and amenities that India provides them, even though they dont contribute any thing in return except ROCKS. I say close of Kashmir for 2 years, put in a person in charge like M.S.GILL, watch the people get weaned away from violence. Oh and you should be made to serve the security forces you call ‘ruthless’ just to learn what they sacrifice to give you the freedom to criticize them.

If you want to report the way you do, go work for a Pakistani Newspaper. At least there they will feed you more lies against India and your readers will lap it up. Seriously we dont want you, dont need you. GOTO Pakistan and enjoy the Sharia Law. STOP enjoying the freedom and criticizing the ones who provide it.

Posted by Mudit | Report as abusive
 

Fayaz Bhai,
Being a photojournalist several times i felt the same,I have coverd many riots and protests..but in Kashmir entirly diffrent but the mind set the scene almost same ..every where stone throwing protestors and other side Police and we have to save ourselves and shoot the best pix both combination so difficult and its sad u guys are facing every week ..
A real info entry

Pawan-Lucknow

Posted by Pawan-Lucknow | Report as abusive
 

My Kashmiri brothers,
I can understand your agony of having to live a life in constant curfew.
And I wouldn’t deny that soemtimes authorities tend to become a bit too harsh. It doesn’t happen only in Kashmir. It happens everywhere but yes in Kashmir I feel it is much more bad.
We would want those days to return when everybody was free to go to Dal Lake. When people didn’t have to look for switzerland to travel as Kashmir was the Heaven on Earth. We don’t want army to be there in the streets. Law and Order should be handled by the state of Jammu & Kashmir like it is being done elsewhere.
In this all of us are with you, we can make a difference all we need to do is to reject Pakistani sponsored terrorism. You are the eyes and ears of India in Kashmir, may be you can come up with your articles on how terrorists are still there in Kashmir, how they are destroying the very fabric of Kashmir culture of sufism. We can put pressure on international organistaions to punish Pakistan for fomenting terrorism in Kashmir. We can raise our voices together and we will help to put pressure on Indian government to move the army to the borders and let the constubalry handle law and order in the cities and towns, encourage tourism in the state along with its age old handloom industry. We can go back to the pre-terrorism era with all the facilties of post-liberalization benefits of India. Lets start today.

Posted by Aman | Report as abusive
 

My dear kashmiri brothers,
As-salaamualaikum and peace.

I can understand that it is hard to be under the constant harshness of the Indian Army. And I do understand why. However it would be great if you could develop ways to become a part of the larger mainstream India. India today offers much more opportunities than it did before. So make good of it. Violence begets violence. Forget your past grudges. Remember the prophet SAW even forgave Wahshi and Hinda, who ate the raw liver of his uncle. See Iraq. Although the US occupied it illegally, the population has learned to live. They have rejected the unislamic ways of Alqaeda’s killing of civilians, finally Iraq will soon be coming back to Normal inshaAllah.

And it would be great if the government of India tries to win the hearts and mind of the local population by encouraging more industries and by creating jobs which positively channel the energy of the youth.I am a pround Indian Muslim, and although here in Europe, I plan to come back to my home.

Posted by ElectricSwede | Report as abusive
 

A very vivid post. I do not know whom to blame or support, since it almost seems like a free-for-all. One might start thinking of human rights, but, with all sincerity, both sides are equally responsible for human right violations. A policeman getting hit by a rock is equally a victim as a protester getting hit by a rubber bullet or tear gas. A zero-sum game going forever…and isn’t that sad?

 

firstly i salute u and ur daring job.sir i m upcomming photojournalist. i think always how difficult to cover in kasmir.one side terrorist and other side military.how u manage.its a very chalenging work. u inspir me.

Posted by sangam dubey | Report as abusive
 

Michael Drescher,

It’s not religion but the politicization of religion that has led to the problems in South Asia. It’s not a recent phenomena, unfortunately. The seeds of it were sown before year 1947.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive
 

“The continued Indian occupation of Kashmir is neither legal nor moral. It’s illegal because it violates security council resolutions 47(1948) of 21 April, 1948, 51(1948) of 3 June, 1948, 80 (1950) of 14 March, 1950 and 91(1951) of 30 March, 1951″
– Posted by Riaz Haq

Quite conveniently, you forgot about the Simla Agreement, which superseded all previous agreements & legalized the Line of control. It was signed by the then Pakistani President Zulfikar Bhutto. Talking of illegal & immoral occupations, that’s exactly what most Pashtuns & Balochs would term Pakistan’s occupation of NWFP & Baluchistan, as.
It’s all a matter of perception. Indians & Pakistanis have their own, different perceptions, which are well known to all. Indians call Pakistani Kashmir as ‘Pakistan occupied Kashmir’ & Pakistanis term Indian Kashmir as ‘Indian held Kashmir’. The solution, I believe, would be somewhere in the middle in the form of greater autonomy for the region, with both countries retaining their territorial integrity. But for any solution to reach fruition, Pakistan will have to discontinue it’s proxy war in India via it’s ‘non-state actors’ because it will never be able to wrest, even an inch of Indian territory by means of force or terrorism.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

This is in response to “Kashmir”.
You say:”When one talks about azaadi, what one really wants is to be able to roam around freely on the streets, without curfews & terror attacks.” I don’t know how old you are sir/madam. If you don’t have a personal experience of life before 1989, go ask your elders about that. You/they did not have “azaadi” then, but enjoyed life well enough to snub Ayuoob Khan’s goons and hand them over to the law enforcement then.(See my other post on this blog) It is only when you stopped doing that and picked up rocks in support of the goons throwing grenades, that army had to be brought in.
You will have to negotiate your terms with India, if you want to make your association with India conditional. But you will not be allowed to dictate. I can however assure you of one immutable fact: Indian army has a right to be in Kashmir and it shall stay there. Indian flag shall fly over Kashmir and if you have problems with that India cannot oblige you as India has sovereignty over it as much as it has over any of its other parts. In such a case, immigration to any other country is a distinct option as many of your other compatriots have already exercised.

Posted by G.Din | Report as abusive
 

Nice balanced article.

As usual we have our Pakistani and Indian friends bickering over us. How we as kashmiris would prefer being ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh with the british protection (1947) at least we would have one Master!

I just like to point out that in Kashmir, we have since 1947 to 1987, had a peaceful struggle for our right to determination. It was only when the State elections which were rigged by Indian govt that the people felt enough was enough.

Pakistani govt/establishment felt this was perfect opportunity to get back to India, because of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and of course the success of the driving the Russians out, they funded and encourage this struggle through training and weapons.

When you are cornered and desperate, majority of the time you make the wrong decision. And that resulted in the arm’s struggle.

In regards to Muslim Extremism, and safe guarding the kashmiris from talibanisation.

The national poet of Kashmir, Mahjoor, once wrote: “Muslims are milk, Hindus are sugar.” While the rest of the Indian subcontinent was consumed by violence between Hindus and Muslims after 1947, Kashmir was one of the few places where the Hindu minority lived safely.

A few bad apples (militants) spoilt the kashmiriyat (secularism)in the early 90′s.

Unfortunately there were around 230 – 250 hindus that were killed. This raised fear in the Hindu community and Indian Govt took full opportunity of this by encouraging the Pandits (Kashmir Hindus) to relocate and turn this struggle into Islamic extremism. I wonder why the Indian Govt didn’t do the same when 1000-2000 muslims were killed in Gujrat.

Nevertheless, Thats where Kashmiriyat died! And i hope that one day they all return back, as they belong there as much as any other Kashmiri does.

Thankfully, the world got to see a glimpse of the Kashmiriyat, during the last summer Agitation where not even One Hindu Yatri (pilgrim) was touched.

Also to highlight that no where in the world where a pilgrimage of one religion (hindu) is facilitated by the people of another religion, that is Kashmiriyat.

I praise these journalist who help to bring exposure to our struggle, We need the world to hear our side of the story.

Our leaders in Jammu & Kashmir have failed us, they are either the puppets of India or Pakistan.

Hopefully the educated youth of Kashmir, will never resolve to guns and fight our struggle through educating people about our aspirations and history, not the ones that are written in Pakistani and Indian History books.

I have a dream that we would be the bridge between India and Pakistan. As of now, Kashmir is a rose stuck between two thorns.

Posted by UMS | Report as abusive
 

A good article by a well respected Pakistani intelectual, Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/16-A nother-nuclear-anniversary-hs-12

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

People of India send their condolences to Pakistanis.

Its heart wrenching to see the carnage going on in Peshawar, Lahore and Swat.

Lets hope it will all end and peace is restored very soon.

 

I agree Azad. It is indeed very sad to see the plight of the innocent civilians in Pakistan. Human suffering is tragic, irrespective of religion or nationality. I hope Pakistan stabilizes soon & this suffering ends.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

UN intervention is inevitable. And no one (except maybe Kashmiris) will be happy with the result.

Also, to the commentators that have said journalists should be kept out of conflict zones, I say this: You deserve your fate. Barring journalists is definitely a Russian/Asian thing, and just look how peachy all of your human rights records are. But don’t tell anyone I said this, or I may get cooked in an oven.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive
 

UMS

—India is filled with such ‘aiyats’ – punjabiyat, bihariyat, marathiayat, tamiliayat, this -iyat – that iyat etc. etc. – the bottomline is it’s India, & Kashmir is ancient than all ‘iyat’s’.

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

UMS

—& what on earth is this so called ‘self-determination’ all about???huh?

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

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