The Forgotten Vale
Kashmir valley, known for its serene mountainous natural beauty, local hospitality and 5,000 years old civilization history. Once called the paradise on earth and mini Switzerland, is going through a conflict for the last three decades. Often seen by many as just a territorial dispute between South Asian nuclear rivals, India and Pakistan.
The locals of Kashmir have been protesting for their birth right.
“Independence” since many decades after Indian Prime Minister J. L. Nehru took the disputed nature of the territory to the United Nations and endorsed the plebiscite on both the sides of Indian administered Kashmir and Pakistani administered Kashmir. The locals of Kashmir were never given a chance of choosing their future even after resisting invasion.
Kashmir valley was recently under a lockdown. The basic civil rights were snatched and people were restricted to their homes after India stripped Kashmir’s autonomy and demoted valley into two Union Territories controlled by Indian Central Government.
Thousands of paramilitary soldiers with riot gear, helmets and automatic weapons were deployed in the streets imposing an unprecedented curfew. In every locality, and outside homes, razor wire barricades and check points were set up to prevent people’s movement. All communications, including land-lines, mobile phones, and internet had been snapped, thus, completely cutting off the valley from the world. What ensued on the ground was a sense of loss and despair.
Kashmir in the last 30 years has been reduced to a land of pain and misery with thousands of dead, disappeared, raped, detained and tortured. When an anti-India insurgency began in 1989, the mighty forces that India employed here crushed the rebellion. Since then more than 90,000 people have died and 8,000 are disappeared.
The ongoing conflict mounted scars not only on the adults but the new generation. The young children were badly affected by the hundreds killed, thousands blinded, amputated bodies, and detained in Indian jails.
With more than half a million Indian troops stationed, Kashmir has the distinction of being the most heavily militarized zone in the world. The Indian forces enjoy special powers under laws such as the Armed Forces special Powers Act (AFSPA) that gives them immunity and impunity to arrest or kill anyone on mere suspicion, without the fear of facing legal action.
The turmoil has devastated an entire generation. During these worst of turbulent times, the people Kashmiris are yearning to live a life of peace and dignity.
Adil Hussain was born and raised in conflicted streets of Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir. He is a self-taught photographer and took his passion to the level of Independent Visual Storyteller. He has been in the field of Photojournalism since 2015, covering the news, culture, and visual tempo of the current time. His editorial content has been featured in Time Magazine, BBC, ABC, Mashable, Lepoint and other organizations. He specializes in documenting conflict, human rights violation and social injustice. The most important part of his role as a storyteller lies in relating to other human beings rather than subjects. He was recognized as among best 18 Photojournalists of the year 2016 on EyeEm Photography Festival & Awards. He is a student of AKS School of Photography and Visual Journalism based in Kashmir. Adil Hussain is currently freelancer with New York based photo–news agency Polaris Images.
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