It was the fifth turn when my dad was picked by the Indian security forces, during that dreadful night when I jumped from the window of my two storey old house, for reasons unknown to our family till date. I was too small to make such a high altitude jump but I made it, or call it the love which aroused me to jump from a height which could have been hazardous!
Ah! what a dreadful night! Sleeping in between my Dad and Mom, getting affectionate warmth from both the sides in the chilly winter of Kashmir, I was having a sweet dream. But who was knowing that a nightmare is about to start! “Knock Knock”. The dreadful knock almost broke my funny dream, and some wild hands snatched half of my love and affectionate warmth. Usually, these dreaded hands represented one of the largest democracies of the world – what we were taught by the government agencies in the textbooks supposed to be read in school.
After days of torture, interrogation and not getting desired answers (the supposed ‘truth’), my Dad got released. People dropped at our house in numbers. People came and went to greet our family over his release, because nobody knows his/her fate in Kashmir once you are taken away by the ‘security forces’ and its numerous dreaded agencies. Disappearance; murder; custodial killing; fake encounter; killed in cross firing or who knows what else!
After serving special tea to our guests, I myself sipped two to three cups with my friends and went for playing. I was given some special kind of regard by one and all, probably because I was the son of a father who got a new life; usually people taken away by army were not released so easily.
Coming back from the play field, we had our dinner collectively once again. One by one, all went to bed. Petrified, I was not able to sleep but was in bed, peeping through my blanket and hearing the conversation between my Mom and Dad. In the meanwhile, I had a glimpse of my Dad’s burnt legs, which the Indian security forces usually do by using red hot iron rods during detention. In this dimly lighted room, tears like diamonds rolled down my Mom’s cheeks which I used to kiss to show my love. Is this what they call as Interrogation? Is this the humanity that they teach us in our classrooms? Can such people anyhow be called as humans or ‘security’ forces in real terms? Can these people be called as your protectors from ‘Pakistani terrorists’? Till date, I am unable to get answers to these questions. Maybe to them, all is fair in love and war.
Tears rolling down my yet chubby and innocent face; glimpses of my Dad’s ironed, burnt and bruised body; my Mom’s weeping face; my sisters’ shrieks; my brothers’ cries and that calling ‘Papa, Papa’ in the darkness of that night; my grandfather’s blood oozing out from his head, struck by an Indian officer with his gun butt; is what turned this young lad into a staunch anti-Indian in his heart and mind. Now, this kid, who used to make V for victory sign at military convoys, gleefully, not really appreciating what it means, waving his hand and smiling upon seeing the Indian soldiers; now turned into a rebel, who doesn’t want to be with them, hated them and hates them till date and calls them oppressors. Those were the days when I was a sixth standard school going kid, knowing nothing about the history of Jammu and Kashmir. Those were the moments which turned this kid, unfortunately, not into a militant but a staunch anti-Indian. And now, I have reached high echelons of my life, and in this voyage of life from a small school going kid to an adult young guy, this anti-Indian faith grew more and more; till the day came when I myself faced this wrath of the Indian army – my oppressors!