India on Thursday formally implemented legislation approved by Parliament in early August that removes Indian-controlled Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status and begins direct federal rule of the disputed area amid a harsh security lockdown and widespread public disenchantment.As my old country newspaper put it, "The bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories came into effect at midnight on October 30."
The legislation divides the former state of Jammu-Kashmir into two federally governed territories.
Three months in and conditions are not looking better. Especially for kids:
At least 1.5 million Kashmiri students remain out of school. Virtually all private schools are closed, and most government schools are shut — one of the clearest signs of the fear that has gripped Kashmir since the Indian government locked down the disputed territory and separatist militants began carrying out attacks to disrupt its control.How terrible!
This generation of Kashmiri children has been among the hardest hit. They have known nothing but conflict. For the past 10 years, huge protests and clashes keep erupting. Many young people have seen friends killed, maimed or hauled off by security forces. Their schools are constantly closing, sometimes for months at a time.What did the kids do to deserve this, right?
What is the rest of the world doing?
The world’s apathy — and the apathy of many Indians — is only perpetuating a climate of fear, silence and repression the region hasn’t witnessed in decades.And that merely emboldens the fanatical Hindu nationalists.
More of us need to speak up. The world must hear the deafening silence from Kashmir. Looking the other way for strategic relations is not an option. Kashmir and her children are waiting for justice.But, what can one do? My government is far more interested in a mafia hit on Ukraine in order to get anything on a political opponent. And, it was the President who lit the proverbial match with his irresponsible remark (not that he ever makes any responsible remark!)
Back in Kashmir:
The children, meanwhile, are desperate to get out of the house and go back to school. They want to see their friends. They want to learn new things. They know their futures depend on it.This is a fucked up world!
“You should either burn my books and my uniform or send me to school,” Reyan, the fourth grader, grumbled to his father on a recent day as they sat in their house in Baramulla, a town in northern Kashmir.
His father, Pervaiz Ahmad Sofi, a forestry professor, threw open a window and pointed toward a group of soldiers in riot gear, stationed just outside their house, guarding a highway.
“Now tell me, do you still want to go to school?” he said. Reyan looked down and walked away, back to the TV.