Kashmir violence National

Confined within four walls amidst tension

Fifth straight day of curfew, Internet breakdown and simmering streets have altered the course of daily life in Kashmir Valley. Living rooms are as grim as the streets or the government offices or the hospitals.

The day starts with an unending errand for locals to look for essentials like milk, vegetables and special morning bread. While milk, which is supplied from volatile south Kashmir mainly, is no more available in the interiors with less security presence, the morning bread is only available at sunrise, just before the security forces’ deployment sets stage for the day’s street battles.

The people’s daily routine is restricted to the lawns of the houses, with television the only access to the outside world. Without the Internet locals have been disconnected from relatives living abroad; and the anxiety is immeasurable.

Five days of ‘house arrest’ and the grim news of deaths have infused trauma even within the four walls of homes. All four-wheelers, even of those performing essential services like doctors, are stranded in the parking lots.

The old city streets, home to this correspondent too, are strewn with glass shards of vehicles that defied protesters’ call to return home. While the alleys are ruled by the protesters, the main streets are the fiefdom of security forces.

This correspondent’s office is just six km away in city centre Lal Chowk. However, one has to draft deft plans to reach it.

I escaped once the protesters’ wrath, hell-bent on setting my vehicle on fire for the content of television shows anchored in Delhi and Mumbai.

One has to negotiate mounds of stones and half-bricks, many times blood-stained, on the streets, with the planned detour also opening up to six volatile places that see stone battles between security forces and protesters.

Weddings hit

With streets choked and zoned between warring factions, the toll on the wedding season is visible in newspapers. The widely read Greater Kashmir has printed page after page of ads from families requesting guests to avoid visiting them on their sons and daughters’ weddings. “The invitation of all guests stands cancelled. However, the ceremony will be held as per the programme,” read the messagesin the newspapers.

The groom reaches the bride’s place only in the dead of night when the streets fall silent and the security forces withdraw from the city roundabouts.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 11:34:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Confined-within-four-walls-amidst-tension/article14488491.ece

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