Inside Kashmir, Cut Off From the World: ‘A Living Hell’ of Anger and Fear

Inside Kashmir, Cut Off From the World: ‘A Living Hell’ of Anger and Fear

Officials in New Delhi circulated photos on Saturday that showed open fruit markets and crowded streets, saying the valley was returning to normal. But security personnel in Kashmir said large protests kept erupting, including on Saturday.

“At any point day or night,” said Ravi Kant, a soldier based in the town of Baramulla, “whenever they get a chance, mobs of a dozen, two dozen, even more, sometimes with a lot of women, come out, pelt stones at us and run away.”

“People are so angry,” he added. “They are unrelenting and not scared.”

Tens of thousands of troops from the Indian Army, the Central Reserve Police Force (a paramilitary unit) and the Kashmiri State police have been deployed in just about every corner of the valley. In some villages, even remote ones, a soldier was posted outside the gate of each family’s home.

The difficulties of negotiating such a tight security cordon are compounding the stress. Shamima Bano, a middle-aged mother, broke into tears the instant she heard her son’s voice over the phone.

“Are you alive?” she cried.

For hours, she had waited in a line of 400 people to use the one phone that the authorities opened, at a government office in her neighborhood. Her college-age son was in the Indian city of Mumbai, about to go into surgery, she said.




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