'They want to erase us': the Kashmiri suburb defying Indian control - By Azhar Farooq - IAMC
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‘They want to erase us’: the Kashmiri suburb defying Indian control – By Azhar Farooq

…It is now more than five weeks since the Indian government revoked the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and placed the state under strict lockdown. Many Kashmiris fear that their way of life in India’s only Muslim-majority state is at risk. A heavy troop presence, a communication blackout and widespread detentions have mostly prevented large protests.

Paramilitaries control every inch of Srinagar, except Anchar. Residents, mostly creative artisans who weave pashmina shawls, have used JCBs to dig trenches around the neighbourhood. Tin sheets, waste containers, mesh wires and logs have been placed as barricades. At night, teams keep watch to spot if security forces are approaching. It is thought to be the first time in recent decades that civilians in Kashmir have prevented Indian paramilitaries and local police from entering an area.…

At night-time, groups of youths are stationed along routes into the city. “When the alarm is raised, everyone comes to defend this place,” a college student said at his home where he was recovering from pellet injuries. More than 100 pellets were lodged in his body, neck and head, he said.… He described Anchar’s resistance as a “fight for existence”, adding: “We are fighting for haqq [truth], we are fighting for azadi [freedom].” He added: “They want to erase us, they want to erase our history. We will not let that happen.”