[Reader-list] Kashmiri Encounter

syed bismillah s_bismillah at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 26 21:23:09 IST 2005

The Kashmiri Encounter 


It is usual to look at each human experience as unique. Every person has different kinds of experiences, especially living in metropolitan cities like Delhi. People coming from different parts of India to Delhi go home with different kinds of stories. But my interviews with the Kashmiri Muslims living in Delhi have been very revealing. They all sound alike. Even the words with which they describe their experiences. 

For instance when a Kashmiri is faced with a problem that would require assistance from a policeman he would not even think of going for help to a police station. In ordinary every day cases when the Delhiwalas would unhesitatingly approach a policeman the Kashmiri would rather suffer injustice than risk going to the police.

I interviewed Aijaz, a business man living in Delhi for many years. He is in his thirties. He told me that once he and his friend were going out for a walk and two people on a mobike came and rammed into them. They shouted at the mobike riders. Instead of being defensive the mobike riders got down from their bike and beat up the two Kashmiris, even kicked them and abused them. They were drunk but probably not that drunk that they didn’t recognize them as Kashmiris so easy target for their aggression. 

I asked Aijaz and his friend about what they did do, how did they react? He replied, "what could we do, we went home." I asked why you did not report to the police?" He laughed and said how could we go to the police, we would become targets of their suspicion. When they find out we are Kashmiris they would start making inquiries about us instead of looking into our complaint

The Delhi police has passed an order that all landlords must give the names of their tenants along with their photos at the local police station. Kashmiris feel very uncomfortable about this rule. They have all begun to feel a constant insecurity and that is the permanent part of living in Delhi, far away from Kashmir. And they wonder why they left the valley at all?

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