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In one of the world’s most violent conflicts, Kashmir, continues to remain under the strong presence of Indian troops. The disputed territory, an outcome of the catastrophic partition of British India, has been going through its worst phase since the late 80s after the armed rebellion for independence was started by the youth. Thousands of Kashmiri men have involuntarily disappeared during this two and a half decades. Several men are believed were arrested, taken to torture centers or the army camps from where majority of them didn’t return. A human rights organisation, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) was

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Ghulam Nabi Najar working at his home.   He walks out slowly from a single storey house, made of mud and C-grade bricks, wearing a ragged woollen cloak and a dark blue trouser. Ghulam Nabi Najar, twenty-eight, swings his head and goes into his brother’s shop some ten feet away from his house and takes a seat there. Few minutes later he stands up, steps outside, and moves back to his house while looking at the stream that passes nearby. The snow is covering half of the rocks in the stream. Dragger Khansahab, the upper region of Budgam district, is

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For twenty-two years, Saja Shah, her husband, and their three children have lived in a two-room rented apartment. Saja, a homemaker in her early 50s, was in the process of shifting to their newly built mud-brick house, which they had begun constructing years ago. A day before moving in, on 21 October 2012, she sat drinking tea at her brother-in-law’s house when she heard gunshots. As she sat bewildered by the proximity of the firing, she heard footsteps – as someone walking in the floor above her. The gunshots were an exchange of fire between two young militants and the

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Jacki Lyden talks with Agha Shahid Ali for NPR, ‘All Things Considered’ at Izhar Patkin’s Studio, 28 July 2001, New York In ‘The Ghat of the Only World: Agha Shahid Ali in Brooklyn,’ his obituary to Agha Shahid Ali, novelist Amitav Ghosh mentions a conversation between him and the poet: I once remarked to Shahid that he was the closest that Kashmir had to a national poet. He shot back: “A national poet, maybe. But not a nationalist poet; please not that.” In many ways, Ali’s poetry epitomizes concerns that are more valid than ever today, twelve years after his death

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Nelson “Madiba” Rolihlahla Mandela was born on the 18 July 1918, to the Thembu Royal Family in Umtatu, in South Africa’s Cape Province, his forename, Rolihlahla, meaning troublemaker in Xhosa. His father was a local chief, and his early life was very much filled with old customs and rituals in his mother’s village, where, as a young boy, he herded cattle. Although both his parents were illiterate, his mother was a devoted Methodist and sent him to school under the guardianship of a fellow chief.  He followed his religion with great vigour and studied African History, Geography, English and Xhosa. He

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A still from the documentary, Kashmir’s Torture Trail. Electrocution, sexual molestation, physical beatings, moving rollers over the legs to break bones were a few methods of torture used by Indian troops to torture people in Kashmir that the International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC) told the United States officials in India in 2005. Revealed by the whistleblower, Wikileaks, in 2010, the report said that the tortured victims were not “Islamist insurgents or Pakistani-backed militants” but were civilians. According to the report 1,296 detainees from Kashmir were interviewed. Among them 681 had told ICRC that they were tortured by using

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Funeral procession of Hilal Ahmed Rather, a militant from Palhallan village, who was killed by Indian forces on 23 May, 2013. “Future of the great nation,” reads a hoarding of the Operation Sadbhavana project in a military base lawns near the Palhallan village in the northern Indian-controlled Kashmir. As per the project “the Indian Army undertakes various campaigns to develop literacy, women empowerment, public health and relief and rehabilitation in Jammu & Kashmir.” The project has been under criticism from the civil society and the people of the Valley that it is used as a tool of propaganda by India

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Stones hurled all around the roads, shops and businesses closed. Police and paramilitary forces prowl side streets and lanes that connect to main roads, from where angry protesters attack them with stones, while standing or sitting in the deserted streets of Shopian – 26 miles from Srinagar. In this southern part of the Indian-controlled Kashmir, people had put themselves under strict civil curfew to mark the protest against the killings of five youth by the Indian troopers of Central Reserve Police Forces’ (CRPF) 114 battalion in Gagran village on September 7 and 11, and against the uninterrupted sixteen days long

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Jana Begum In a single storey mud-brick house, she lives with her two daughters and a son. Fifty-one year old Jana Begum is one of those women whose family was caught in world’s most militarized zone, Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir. She lost her four sons and her husband in the last seventeen years. Another son has been disappeared since he left home to visit his in-laws place. In 2012 summer, I went to meet Begum at her village, Devar Lolab- 120 kilometres north of Srinagar, the region’s summer capital. The village has a population of 5000 inhabitants and has been largely

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The Kashmir conflict has shaped the unconscious psychology of the entire Indian-administered-Kashmiri population. It imposes an important question of how the current political situation in the valley has and is psychologically affecting the youth, causing many mental health problems. Accordingly, it’s the Kashmiri youth that is most affected currently since they are unable to make peace between the violent past and unstable present. The conflict has not only created a violent context to which people, especially youth respond to with mostly repressed emotions, aggression and frustration. But since the peaceful options are blocked, the Kashmir conflict defies solution causing hopelessness,

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