We have an interesting family history, one that’s a great story for each generation;
The story of how your orphaned great grandparents were separated by a border, one set of siblings falling into Azad Kashmir, the other into Jammu & Kashmir.
A few years ago, a young man from Jammu ventured to Azad to find my NanaAbu.
He brought with him documents, photographs, and a need to locate his long lost relatives to tell the tale of the other side.
Our relatives, alive, one looked exactly like my late Grandad. They had made their lives, a bustling population of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, just like on our side of the border.
Everyone was elated, they had lived and made beautiful lives in Jammu.
Today, Jammu is nothing but uncertainty for the homes of native Kashmiris and Muslim families.
The state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) has long had the status and approval to make its own laws, as it was recognised as disputed territory since partition. This was under agreement by Article 370 – which as of this Monday has been declared by the Indian Prime minister to discontinue.
What does this mean for Kashmir?
This means that the Muslim-majority population of J&K can no longer protect themselves.
Since the End of British colonial India, Article 370 limited Indian parliamentary powers, granting Kashmir it’s own, separate constitutional rights. Though this was regarded as a temporary measure, the permanent status and “ownership” of Kashmir has been disputed regardless
Further to Article 370, Article 35a was added in 1954 – enabling J&K authority over perminent its own residency.
Indian prime minister Modi has now revoked article 370, thereby stripping occupied Kashmir of it’s constitutional status and rights – in laymen’s terms, India’s armed forces are now free to ethnically and religiously cleanse the region to enforce Indian rule and establish an Indian presence.
And that’s exactly what they are doing- the people of Kashmir now face a heightened military presence as well as limited supplies and blackouts. Not only does this endanger lives, but also makes it harder to access media and resources.
Various sources have claimed over 50 deaths and 5000 injured, including hundreds being deliberately blinded. Kashmiri residents have also been subjected to strict curfews, including school closures and road blocking.
Many have raised red profile photos for awareness of the current crisis, following the blue for Sudan movement – both to counter mass media blackouts and spread the news.
Kashmir, we are hearing this and praying for you, protesting for you and demanding India to back down.
I am reserving the end of this article, in hopes that I can update it the day Kashmir is free, whatever day, month or year that may be.
– Shazmeen Khalid