That was a night of departing winter, spring would soon take its turn, Chilaikalan had left its last remnants all over.
Dusk set in the valley of hope, morning would be better.
The land was dressed in a majestic white, this night was unusually cold, the seasons were to change forever.
Wedding bells had started ringing, the young bride’s cheeks turned scarlet at the thought and her heart fluttered with anticipation.
Little did she know what the night had in store, little did she know that this would be the darkest of all nights.
In the warmth of her cramped house, a mother tucked her three kids into bed.
She saw them breathing quietly and her heart swelled with pride,
not knowing that the next morning would leave them traumatized forever.
In the still of the night, the edgy man woke up to a distant rumbling of wheels.
His heart started pounding, he took a long glance at his wife and then rushed to see his young daughter.
The morning would leave his life in ruins.
It was Shab-e-Baraat, fate was to be sealed that night.
The nervous mother-to-be ran an affectionate stroke over her swollen belly, wondering what was written for her unborn child.
As she mentally chalked a plan for her child’s future, they entered, uninvited.
A loud bang on the door announced their fate, and it wasn’t what she had contemplated.
The second storey of her house seemed too low for a mother of six who made an effort to escape.
She missed her only chance, they held her back and the savagery that followed numbed her for her life.
The rest of the night is as hazy as the nightmares which make her youngest child break into a cold sweat, wailing.
That night a five-year-old was petrified by what he saw, it left him embittered against the entire human race.
The child in him died, as his mother was being raped by countless inebriated men at gunpoint.
The child stared on, horror-struck, they had unbridled power but not even an iota of conscience.
Hearing his daughter’s muffled screams, the ailing father lying on the bed wished for death.
In the adjacent room, as she was held back by the uniformed savages, the girl tried to be as quiet as possible,
she didn’t want to torment her ailing father with guilt, she tried to swallow the pain.
The frail octogenarian was known for her wise tales.
That night they left her battered and bruised, little regard was shown for her wrinkled skin and fragile bones.
She lived on to narrate a painful tale of a night when human lust was used as ammunition.
Tears were rolling down the cheeks of a woman whose face was usually stern,
as a moan escaped her mute daughter-in-law’s lips, she didn’t need any sign language to communicate with her,
the soldiers took turns on their bodies, she understood her pain.
The night lingered on, female bodies became bloodstained battlegrounds.
In a single night, an entire village faced doom.
Morning arrived with a fresh spell of snow, the ruckus of that night was silenced.
Snow kept piling up as the whole village seethed in anger and helplessness.
Years passed on, the survivors found a huge audience.
Day in and day out, they came, some offered genuine sympathy, some had just smiles of complacence and some had brute denial to offer.
Every time they were made to recount the horrors of that night with same gory details.
Each night is passed with debilitating fear, but yes, they have survived
Scars have healed but they are still sore.
And the question still endures, will justice ever be served to the villages of Kunan-Poshpora.