I am Yawar Mushtaq, 18 years of age. I live in Batengoo, a small village in South Kashmir, Islamabad. One afternoon forces came to our village and ransacked everything. They broke our windowpanes, stones landed inside our rooms; they even beat domestic animals, let alone humans. I could see that they barged into our neighbours house and broke everything they could; they went upstairs and threw stuff out of the windows. It was a nightmare. I had never witnessed such havoc being wrecked upon our neighbourhood. I had only heard stories of Kunan-Poshpora where they had raped an entire village and the stories of Bijbehara, our nearby village where dozens of people were massacred within minutes.
Chaos and confusion prevailed, everyone was trying to rush to safety, but truly, there was no safe place to hide from these monsters. In our backyard, I stood in shock as I saw everything fall apart, I could hear my neighbourhood boys shouting my name, telling me to run or the forces would capture me too. The other day, CRPF had captured dozens of local boys and pulled off their nails with pliers.
Amid all this chaos and confusion on one side and ransacking of our homes on the other, I didn’t know where to go . The army men saw me, they didn’t throw stones at me, neither did they shoot a bullet; they came close, very close to me and I heard a loud burst. I felt as if there was a ball of fire in my body; I fell and found myself lying a pool of my own blood. I was taken to the hospital by my friends hoping that I’d be alive; Alas! I wasn’t. Pellets had ruptured all my organs; there were hundreds of them in my body.
More and more people assembled in our village and my grave was being prepared to lay me to rest.
The forces came back and started firing at the mourners.
I had only heard stories of Kunan-Poshpora and Bijbehara massacre.
Disclaimer: This story is narrated as if it is in first person. The situation has been fictionalized, but at the same time, utmost care has been taken by the author to stay close to facts as reported by eyewitnesses and news stories.
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Watch Muzzammil Ayyub Thakur narrate Yawar’s painful story in our #DoNotForgetUs Campaign with Jajeer Talkies.