Our Desolate Motherland
Wails and cries are common in the household of Mohd Iqbal Bhat, a watchman in Nowpora village in Shopian district. In the last week of May, Iqbal’s son Majid joined a terrorist group in Kashmir. Majid is the father of two children – son Ayan aged six and daughter Anam aged two.
The family lives in poverty in a shack. Majid’s wailing parents, his distressed wife, his innocent children and siblings make one feel heart-broken about the fate being suffered by Kashmir. The recruitments into terrorism multiply the chances of violence against the common Kashmiri. They also increase the sufferings and hardships of families of common Kashmiris when a member chooses the path of brutal death.
Majid used to work as the driver of a load carrier. The family has a small orchard. Every adult family member works at the farm so that the family is able to make ends meet through apple cultivation. In a video released after Majid joined the terrorist group, Majid’s parents, wife and siblings cried to him to return to the family fold and attend to his responsibilities as a son, husband and father.
Hit By A Bolt
On May 25, a pall of gloom fell over Majid’s house when the family learnt that he has joined terrorist ranks. His father Iqbal cried in the video that how could Majid abdicate his responsibilities towards his wife and children, and choose the path of certain death? It was tragic to see the laments of his wife Bisma, left to suffer the life of a half widow. Often, she breaks into tears when she sees her small children who need the love and care of a father. Why did you marry? Why did you raise children? Whom will I call in need? Whom will I call in pain? Her questions do not end.
Majid’s grieving father said that many times, Majid had been arrested by the police in cases of stone pelting. The family had faced a tough situation every time in getting him released from police custody.
The wailing parents keep waiting for Majid to return. The family has been left so shocked by the development that they are not able to figure out whether Majid was abducted, or has he actually joined some terrorist group. Shopian is one of the hot beds of militancy in Kashmir. It has been observed that terror groups are mobilizing their contacts for mass recruitments in the area.
In the video that the family has released wailing to Majid to return, it is tragic to see his children playing alongside. At their tender age, the children are oblivious to the tragedy that has befallen them.
It is highly unfortunate that our young generation moving towards destruction by choosing the path of violence and death, ignoring the potential of a happy life and a successful career.
Kashmir has been witnessing violence and killings since last three decades. The spectacle of our blossoming youth joining militant ranks is an unbearable loss to the society. The innocent youth of Kashmir are instigated to be part of death games in the pursuit of shadowy mirages. With a sizable section of our youth deeply indoctrinated and radicalized, our assets are turning to liabilities.
A common Kashmiri cannot understand why his homeland has turned into hell despite being a paradise on earth. Freedom can never be accompanied by killings and violence. Kashmir wants and needs freedom from militancy and terrorism.
Our youth are getting killed in the path of violence. They are making the wrong choice. It is hard to see the distress of parents wailing for their children who join militancy. The pain of such families is beyond description.
The joining of local youths in militant ranks is a matter of serious concern. In 2020, 130 youths signed up for militancy. This is low as compared to 2018, when 210 youth were part of terrorist groups in the state. Of these, 190 were Kashmiri young men, and 20 were foreign terrorists.
In 2021, there has been a slight increase in the recruitment of terrorist groups. If these recruitments continue, it shall have a negative impact on our young generations. The prevailing conditions in Kashmir indicate that crime and terror attacks may increase.
It is tragic that a region as blessed as Kashmir should suffer this curse. Kashmiri youth are progressive and adventurous. We do not lack potential and creativity. Our hospitality is without compare. But our political leaders, our bureaucracy, our judiciary, educational system – all these institutions failed to lead our society in the right direction. Our society needs the right checks and balances. We need awareness programs for our youth, which will make them shed negativity and despair. Winning the hearts and minds of the youth must be the government’s priority.
Youth are the backbone of any society. It is Kashmir’s misfortune that external powers are vitiating the minds of our youth against our nation. We hope that this atmosphere of fear, violence and killings ends soon, and we are able to recreate Kashmir again as the land that the world envies.