Kashmir voices: 'We are angry'
- 15 September 2010
- From the section South Asia
People in Indian-administered Kashmir tell the BBC News website of their growing resentment against Indian rule, after a summer of dissent.
Police shot dead 18 civilians on Monday in the deadliest day since the latest wave of protests erupted three months ago, bringing the number of those killed to more than 80.
The latest demonstrations were sparked by reports of a Koran being publicly desecrated in the US.
A curfew is in place, and was extended on Tuesday to cover fresh areas as thousands more federal police were deployed across the valley.
Shams Irfan, freelance journalist, Pampore
I live in Pampore, a small town not far from Srinagar and famous for its saffron fields. Yesterday three people were killed by the police during protests against the desecration of the Koran.
I left my hometown to go to Delhi for work a couple of days ago, but when I spoke to my father on the phone I could hear gunfire. In the middle of our conversation, a shell landed close to our front door. My cousin was injured. Someone I have known since my childhood was also killed.
I am a journalist working for a weekly magazine. There have been huge restrictions on all Kashmiri media in the past few months. Our magazine was shut down again for two days.
They say the newspapers are creating the problems, but newspapers only tell the truth and that is what they don't want to hear.
We have to be careful not just about what we write in our articles, but also what we say on Facebook and other social networking sites. People have been rounded up by local security forces for saying things on Facebook.
Kashmiris are sentimental people. If anything happens around the world with the Koran - they will be against it.
But the underlying anger is really against the unlawful and cruel Indian rule that has been pushing the otherwise peaceful people of Kashmir towards such "violent" protests. It is against the unnecessary fortification of Kashmir by Indian troops that causes real friction.
Why do we need a one million-strong Indian army here? To fight against the estimated 500 active militants who haven't done anything major for the past three or four years? Those who get killed are not Pakistan-sponsored terrorists, they are normal people like you and me. They are not on the streets because some jihadi in Pakistan is guiding them, they are out because they are fed up with the suffocating Indian rule.
Dr Ishiyaq Gellani, medical doctor, Srinagar
I observed the atrocities of the police forces right in front of my house yesterday. A man on a motorcycle who must have gone out to buy food for his family was beaten because he didn't stop and didn't answer the question where he was going. I think he probably didn't hear them.
He was thrown to the ground and beaten up. We were just looking from the window, too scared to leave.
We are full of fear.
I was afraid they might notice me as I was watching and they might break into my house. These kinds of things are routine here. This happened to my neighbours - they forced their way in. There was no particular reason, I don't know what they were looking for. They do it to harass the people, to make them scared.
We are stuck in the house, we can't leave because of the curfew. Nobody can leave. People can't even go to the shop and everybody is staying indoors.
I am a doctor and I have a pass for essential service so I should be able to go out, but they still wouldn't let me leave the house. I can't even get milk for the kids.
The security forces are supposed to be there for our security, but they are killing us and that is what makes us angry. They have no respect. They even kill young children.
The protests were peaceful. None of the protesters fired a gunshot. We have had militancy before, but they are no longer active. There isn't a single gun here.
Yet they are not firing in the air, they shoot at the people directly. They aim at their heads and bodies.
Protests are not going to stop. Everyone is angry. Even the small kids, who wouldn't normally care, know everything now.
Khuram Shah, accountant, Srinagar
I work in the UK, but I've been on holiday in Kashmir for the past couple of months. This is my birthplace, I grew up here.
I am interested in photography and I went out yesterday to the protests just so that I can take photos of what is happening.
I saw the clashes between local people and the police, I saw people being killed and a local factory being burnt. I have got all this evidence of the past few days.
People gathered to protest against the [desecration] of the Koran. It started as a small rally of about 200 people, but it grew into a few thousand. Protesters started throwing stones at the forces and that provoked the clashes.
I am stuck at home now. We can't go out. But despite the curfew there have been further clashes today. Earlier, people had gathered on the road towards the airport, about 200 yards from where I live. People were coming out of the mosque, gathering in one place. I nipped out to see what was happening.
People are very angry. They are angry with the government. Kashmir does not belong to India. But this issue has been taken to a new level. The government uses force to implement their strategies and that has been causing major discontent here over the past few months.
The government of Kashmir has closed local TV channels. They cannot broadcast the news and people are getting more and more angry because of that.
And now because of the Koran issue, Kashmiris have gone ballistic.
The government of India has spectacularly failed to solve the Kashmir issue.