Heartbreaking messages from Kashmiris disconnected from their families

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Internet connectivity, cellular, landline, cable TV are suspended and roads are closed. Indian Army is deployed at every point in Srinagar. Here are some heartbreaking messages from Kashmiris disconnected from their families

The Margin Team

A tweet by Burhan Gilani

While the entire Kashmir Valley is disconnected due to the blockade and oppression of Indian State, every Kashmiri residing outside Kashmir is worried about their family and friends in Kashmir. Internet connectivity, cellular, landline, cable TV are suspended and roads are closed. Indian Army is deployed at every point in Srinagar. The Indian Express reported that “the Valley has seen many a strike, many a curfew, but this time there’s no escaping the difference— with neighbourhoods locked away from each other, too, Kashmir has been turned invisible even inside Kashmir.” In such a situation of #CagedKashmir, students, scholars, all people of Kashmir currently present in the outside world are accounting their emotion, worries and experiences. Here are some heartbreaking messages of Kashmiri people on social media:

Gowhar Farooq Bhat, a research scholar writes, “Last time I spoke with my mother, I decided to cut the call in the middle of our conversation. I did not want to pick a verbal fight with her. She was sad I wasn’t coming home for Eid and about other routine matters. I called father and vented out my anger. As always, he listened patiently. While I spoke to my father the next day (Saturday), I avoided talking to my mother. I was still angry. I did not call home on Sunday. It has been more 72 hours since I last heard from home. I don’t know how long it would’ve taken me to resume conversations with my mother. I am sure she would’ve called by now. My father, who my mother once said ‘sleeps on a bed of thorns if you are not happy’ must be waiting to hear from me – as impatiently as I am, to hear his voice. #StoriesofcagedKashmir
I am sure every Kashmiri’s heart is bursting. Share what you feel about your loved ones who stand caged for standing up for their rights.”

Sana Fazili, a journalist in News18 writes, “My dad’s calm but tense words that he spoke on sunday night are still ringing in my head. We both asked each other why we were up at 2 in the night and we both dodged the question with a nervous laughter. I was fighting back tears while I was talking to him. I don’t know if he too was.”

Saba Shafi Makhdoomi, Pathologist in Yale Pathology writes, “I hung up the phone on my mom in a moment of hurry and disinterest both, telling her I would call back after a while. It was weekend here and I had time and still I took this little freedom of being able to call her and see her at will, for granted. Partly because as is their wont, my parents simply refused to give me any whiff of things being any worse than we have faced before on countless occasions and mostly because of the inherent paranoia most kashmiri parents feels in speaking of such matters over the phone! ‘Traav yim kath ma aas karaan phoneus peyth.’ After a day of writhing agony, of going to work after a sleepless night, of trying to make sense of the world I am in and the one I come from and carry within, of trying to hold myself together the entire day, I finally broke down over the phone with a kashmiri friend the minute I heard her voice. I was desperate for anything to do with home. I am desperate for anything that signifies home. And for me, in that moment of utter brokenness, her voice was home. I know they would all be fine. And I also know that I want to hear from them, not for them but for myself. For them to assure me, ‘Pushraav Khodayas. Sorui gasi theek.”

Hafsa Kanjwal, an assistant professor at Lafayette College writes, “I cannot get in touch with my family and friends in Kashmir. There is a complete communication lockdown—no internet, no phones, nothing. I am reminded of the days surrounding Partition, when Indians and Pakistanis had no idea which country they woke up in. People there have no way of knowing what is happening, all they know is that they are under curfew and their streets are heavily deployed by additional trioops. Again: we have NO way of knowing what levels of repression and violence they are facing, journalists on the ground are not able to reach out to the international media.”

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