Archive for January, 2013


The picture that you see above is from a “crackdown” in Kashmir from 90s. What exactly is a crackdown?

Consider this situation, At the crack of dawn, your home is encircled by armed individuals who without any legal justification subject you to an arrest and you are not told under what charges but you get the hint why this is unfolding as it is. You are directed to an open air prison.

Tough luck if you are the only male member in your house, you still must follow the orders of these gunmen. As far as the women and children are concerned they must stay back and be used as human shield just in case.

Your plea to stay with the family while the “search” is on falls on deaf ears. If you insist, there’s every chance you might be spared the open air prison and instead get hauled to an Abu Gharaib kind of place. Tough choice isn’t it.

You sheepishly start the walk and are greeted with choicest abuses, you boil from inside. Your mind wanders back to what must be the scene at your home. You curb your instincts and decide to bear the humiliation.

Finally you reach the ‘prison’ and look around and find every male member of your neighborhood is already there. “Some solace” you say without saying it.

You are not allowed to express any resentment. Even if no charges can be pressed, yet the detention continues.  You spend the day and just before the dusk, you are asked to get up and face up to a vehicle while the armed individual holds you (see the picture). There are scores of vehicles and you are ordered to face up to each one of those in the same way.


You get up and gear yourself to bear another humiliating ritual (see picture) and then you hear what you don’t want to – a loud horn. Fearing the worst you close your eyes only to realise that its not you but the next one the honk was meant for. You say “Thank God, it was someone else” and you don’t care if anyone heard you this time. With not even a second’s delay, the unfortunate soul is blindfolded and hauled into a truck. An Abu Gharaib he cannot escape even if he begged and pleaded. Somehow you escape each one of these and are released.

You are relieved that you can go home fully aware this might continue for many days at a stretch and it did. And you reach home and see every room in your house has been ransacked. You ask yourself since when did insurgents start hiding in rice canisters and since when did armed individuals think they can fit unharmed in suitcases. You know the hunt is not for the individual who picked up a gun and who fights for freedom but it’s your desire to unshackle yourself from the chains of slavery that’s the target.

The next dawn, the story continues. And your desire to be free – invigorated.


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