November 30, 2010

Sopore and Me were Never Same Again by Shahid Nabi

I was born in a middle class family in one of the most volatile towns of Kashmir called Sopur. (Also called Sopore Kandahar). It was only couple of years after my birth that armed upheaval against india started in Kashmir (also known as Tehreek). This revolt was against the barbaric, forceful, callous, uncivilised and pitiless occupation of Kashmir by India. This uprising against the illegal occupation of Kashmir by india was not a spur-of-the-moment one. As nothing is spontaneous when it comes to revolt against any deceitful nation. Its seeds are sown deep in the emotions, imaginations, feelings, deeds and hearts of the down trodden. Kashmiri’s were subjugated in every feasible mode by india since 1947. So a volcanic stack was in the making which exploded in the year 1989.

I can still remember those days, though my age was tender, but I can’t stop thinking about those horrendous and dreadful days. The crackdowns, sudden raids (chapp’e), indefinite curfews, blood shed, gun shots, funeral processions, mourning mothers, molested sisters, orphaned brothers, cross firings, houses turned into debris, forsaken corpses of young men, Yes, I could remember all those things. From every nook and corner it smelled of blood. The blood that was of the people I relate with, (they were my brothers and sisters in Islam, the most potent brotherhood). That blood was of the Muslim ummah. After every death, people would come out of their houses with the funeral procession, chanting pro-Islam slogans and pro-freedom slogans. “HUM KYA CHAHETE AAZADI (WE WANT FREEDOM)” and “AAZADI KA MATLAB KYA LA ILAHA ILLAL LA (FREEDOM TO WE MEANS, THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH)” were the most sacrosanct verses after the verses of Holy Quran to the people of Kashmir. Revolutionary songs were being aired on loud speakers in mosques. It was the ardour of Aazadi everywhere, be it a 6 years old child like me (those days) or the 60 years old.

I could still remember that fateful day of 6th Jan 1993, when 57 guiltless Muslims were killed in cold blood by the indian security forces in Sopore. In addition to this, there was also lost of property worth crores of amount. 450 buildings were razed to ground, which included 50 houses and 400 shops. Yes, this obnoxious incident still haunts me in my nightmares. BSF and paramilitary forces went on reprehensible rampage to kill innocent people in Sopore. It was early morning on that fateful Wednesday, when according to government sources some militants killed one BSF personal and took away his LMG (weapon), But after that for about five hours BSF went berserk and killed 57 vulnerable civilians, which till date remains one of the most dreadful bloodbath in Kashmir. On that day, we were locked inside our home, outside my home were people being killed. My uncle escaped a sure death when he along with his aunt was outside to help the wounded. When he peeped on to the main road to see if somebody was trapped there, a bullet was shot at him, but miraculously he was safe. After this berserk killing, BSF sprayed paraffin and gun powder on houses and shops and more than 450 buildings were left to ashes. Those trapped inside shops died in these buildings which were burnt and left to rubble.

It was that day of 6th Jan, which changed the course of time in Sopore. Witnessing the cruel nature of the indian security forces, people of Sopore were taken aback from there deep slumber. Next day curfew was imposed, but it was defied as soon as imposed, people came onto the streets carrying the bodies of their dear ones in caskets to bid last farewell to them. But these pagans showed their infidelity once again and sprayed bullets and tear smoke canisters into the funeral processions. Afterwards all I could hear were the cries of mothers and sisters in every nook and corner. And in no time this woeful state would change into the fervour of Aazadi. The whole air would be engulfed by the slogans of Aazadi and Islam. Its an interesting tale that before I could recite rhymes in the school, these pro-freedom and pro-Islamic slogans had made my mind and heart there permanent place of dwelling.

Now it was the daily routine of ours, I mean (crackdowns, sudden raids, disappearances, beating, looting of property, molestation of our mothers and sisters and all these heart breaking things). I could still remember one incident; it was early in the morning. I had been sleeping at that time, when army came inside out house and said to come out quickly from home and gather inside the Girls Hr Sec School Sopore, as crackdown was going on. I think I was 7 years old at that time. I had been woken by the barking of these army men (they were called Pandra Punjab). I was half asleep and half awoken, when suddenly one army man hit me with the butt of the AK-47 on my shoulder. That hit gave me such a pain, which I beared for about a week. In the place of gathering, one informer (mukhbir) in a mask would make out the militants among us. It is still anonymity to me, whether the informer was one among us or it was just a pre-planned approach to arrest innocents and brand them as terrorist. So it was nothing but harassment for we people everywhere in the Kashmir. Young men were getting killed, arrested, tortured and thrashed. Now we are in the year 2010, but nothing had changed. More than 1 lakh people have been killed since 1989 by indian security forces.

Now the only hope is the Allah, May Allah destroys the indian nation and breaks the chains of illegal occupation of Kashmir by India.

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