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By Mudasir Majeed Peer Cutting across meadows and mountains, a six kilometer road leads to Magam – a village in Handwara area of North Kashmir – where aeronautical engineer, Imran Kirmani, was born. For years, the village took pride in Imran’s achievements – even a mention that the village had given birth to the first aeronautical engineer in north Kashmir made the villagers gloat. These days, however, people visit this village for a completely different reason. The aeronautical engineer has recently returned home from jail. Imran Kirmani The 29-year-old engineer was kept in Tihar Jail on allegations of links with

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By Yusra Khan It was a last homecoming for Tufail Ahmad Mattoo. Midway, he met death in its brutal avatar. A tear smoke canister fired by a policeman hit him in the head, cracking his skull. As blood and brain oozed out from the skull cavity of this 16-year-old boy, Mattoo breath his last. On a sultry midsummer afternoon of the year 2010, on June 11, Tufail became another name in the list of “martyrs”. For his father, Mohammad Ashraf Mattoo, his hair now greyish and face wrinkled, he was the only son. At the house of Mattoos in Saida

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By Iymon Ganaie Manzoor Ahmad talking about stone throwing. (Photo taken by cellphone camera) In the battlefield; guns, bullets, teargas shells, lathis, bricks and stones are the common weapons. Stone is Manzoor’s only weapon in this battle, played on the streets and highways of Kashmir. “Either you hit or you miss. There is no in between,” Manzoor says of the stones he throws. Winters often put rest the high volatility of summers in Kashmir. No stone throwing. No freedom protests. No freedom marches. No frequent killings. No Chalos. It looks as if winter chills everything. But the same is not

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By Yusra Khan Sitting in a corner, she peeps through the open window of her blue-walled room all the time. She wants to be the first one to see him coming home again. And she strongly believes in that. Dilruba’s sunken eyes do not get wet anymore. She has been thrown out by her in-laws from their house as they believe that she was responsible for the missing of her only son. Mehran Lateif Mir “My mother-in-law blamed me for my son’s missing. He was my only son. How can a mother sell her child whom she carried in her

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By Fahad Shah Every dawn follows with a new fresh day. New twenty four hours will introduce him with unknown people. Some unknown faces. Perhaps, some regular. At 10 in morning it’s time for him to sit on the triangular Rexene cushion and kick off the ride. Touches the steel handle gripped with thin plastic. Puts feet on rubber griped pedals. His companion is a steel machine which stands on air filled rubber tubes. It is the three tyre cycle rickshaw. Shambhu Nath lives in Varanasi, a city situated on the banks of the River Ganges in the Indian state

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By Fahad Shah Ten-year-old Hafiz Parvez  wants to attend school but deems the freedom struggle even important. “I want to see Independent Kashmir then I will go school. Yeman bicharen lagevikh gool (they fired on these innocent fellows),” he said after his three neighbors were shot at by security forces. The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been convulsed by a wave of protests since June this year, triggered by the death of a school student at the hands of police. Protests have been largely peaceful but their characteristic is stone-throwing. Protesting youth take to streets and cast stones on

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By Fahad Shah A chemical compound, Tear Gas, formally known as a lachrymatory agent or lachrymator, stimulates the corneal nerves in the eyes to cause tearing, pain, and even blindness. This is what info-bank Wikipedia informs us about this gas, which in Kashmir has taken many lives when fired by Indian paramilitary forces during clashes with civilians. Adding to this are newly introduced Pellet guns which barrage 150-200 pellets at a trigger and can cause severe damage, that often leads to death. Civilians in large numbers pouring in the hospital emergency wards with tear gas injuries is common since the

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By Fahad Shah “A young boy has died in hospital. He was arrested by police on Friday,” a friend told me when I was leaving from my home. He said the boy was beaten up and arrested during Friday protests, now he has succumbed to his injuries. I ran back to my home to get my camera and notebook. From home, I went straight to the Main road were the procession along with the boy’s body was heading towards Buchpora. In a sea of people, I could see faces of my neighbors, my friends raising slogans and wailing. Red, blue,

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By Fahad Shah The Omar Abdullah-led government’s decision to ban the Short Messaging Service hasn’t gone down well with the youngsters in Valley as they have been deprived of exchanging their feelings through the popular service. The SMS ban came after the state government said the service was being used to spread “rumors and cause chaos” in wake of the ongoing situation in the Valley. Saqib(name changed), who is working as a photo journalist in a UK based agency at Delhi is livid with the ban like hundreds of young boys and girls. Being in Delhi, far away from his

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By Fahad Shah Change is the only constant. The struggle of Kashmir for independence from Indian rule is also changing as people shift their platform for protest as new media are made available. The internet has become the podium for the new generation to express their support. It was not so popular earlier in the valley; today most of the people who don’t come on to the street to protest have taken the protests in everyone’s heart to social networking sites like Facebook and video bank YouTube. The current movement of spontaneous protests in the last two months is led

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