In this village in Kashmir, women can’t afford to sleep.


There has been an uptick of violence in Kashmir over the past week. On Wednesday, Indian forces brutally murdered a young man for allegedly not stopping at a checkpoint, an accusation witnesses have disputed. In addition, in the district of Budgam over the past 10 days, Indian forces and Jammu and Kashmir police have ransacked an entire village and continue to intimidate its residents. In this village, women are living in fear of their lives. A special report from Budgam for Stand With Kashmir.


Fowzia* hasn’t slept in days. She trembles at the slightest sound outside her door.


The night raids by Indian forces and the Jammu and Kashmir police that have taken place in Nasurullah Pora village in central Kashmir’s district of Budgam since last Friday have left the women in the village traumatized.


Because Indian troops are routinely picking them up from their homes, many young men are sleeping outside the village these days, leaving the women feeling vulnerable.


Some women have resorted to staying together in groups as they fear more attacks from Indian troops.


“Now, we spend nights together in groups and sleep in one room. We don’t know what will happen if we stay alone in our homes,” she said.


Across the village, shards of glass lie spread on the streets. Houses are damaged. Three women show us purple scars they say came from a beating at the hands of the troops.

“They were carrying axes, knives, guns, peppery spray, whoever dared to talk or say anything they sprayed something on his face,” said one 19-year-old girl. “We are very scared and fear that they can come anytime and do anything to us.”

It started on Friday, May 8. Men in the Nasurullah Pora village, home to an estimated 15,000 people, gathered for congregational Friday prayers at the local mosque. Local police raided the village and objected to the prayers being held, citing the Covid19 lockdown.

“The police officer first entered the mosque with his shoes on which infuriated everyone. Clashes took place,” one resident said.

“[The police officer] suffered injuries in the clashes and after that many police raids followed and they went berserk in the village.”



The officers entered homes and threw food out. Or mixed the food with kerosene and red chili. The entered bedrooms and broke cupboards and bent pots and demolished appliances.


Shops in the village were set alight with the goods inside. The local hardware shop, plywood shops and many others were looted.


“We do not want anything but we don’t feel safe here. We fear for ourselves. We do not need any compensation. We just want to tell the forces to let us live,” said a 28-year-old woman who was scheduled to get married next month but all her clothes, jewelry and other things that she had gathered for her marriage, have been taken away by the forces.



“We called our in-laws and told them I cannot marry this year. I have nothing left. They even beat and locked my mentally disabled uncle in front of our eyes.”


Another woman, whose house had been semi-demolished said she had no idea where her next meal would come from.


“They looted everything from our home. They even broke the feeder of my seven-month- old daughter. They mixed rice with shreds of glass and all spices. They sprayed us with something making us unconscious. We were just begging them to leave us,” she said, with tears in her eyes.


Hafeeza*, another resident, said that by jumping out from the window she is suffering from abdominal pain as she has recently undergone a surgery. She said she feared for her two teenage age daughters who stood with her while narrating the nightmare.


“I feared for my two young daughters, they were beasts not humans. I jumped out with my two daughters 17 and 19. They broke all lights, switch boxes and took away whatever they could. They did not let us talk, my body still shivers” she said. “I feared the worst as there were no men at home.”



The villagers say after the incident the Azaan has since stopped. No one has been to the mosque since. The turmoil has made it difficult to fast.


As the evening falls, all young and old men leave the village fearing that they would be arrested if the police comes. Leaving only women in the homes.


“My son was sleeping in the graveyard the whole day and I went to him with water. The police are forcing our children to pick up guns. Why are they not letting us live?” Hafeeza said.


“We live under Zulm (oppression). We will let our children pick up guns but won’t let them be arrested and be falsely implicated and tortured. We have lost our peace,” said another woman pointing to her teenage age son who has stayed away from home over the past week.


“They want us to present our children at police stations. We will not do that. We have forgotten about the coronavirus and Ramzan. We have lost everything. We have nothing to eat. They spoiled our food and whatever we had stored. The shops have been burnt down, we have become like beggars in our own homes,” Hafeeza said.

Fatima*, a 17-year-old girl said she was beaten with a gun when she tried to save her 70-year-old grandfather. She showed the scar on her arm, which she said, was unable to lift due to the injury.

“I told them that he is old, that they shouldn’t beat him, but they beat his feet and ankles with a gun. I tried to shield my grandfather. They slapped me repeatedly and kicked my aunt also who fell down,” she said.

The vehicles parked in the village were kicked in. Their windows smashed.

“They shouted at the women and abused us. They told us to raise your hands and tell them who wants to go to Burhan Wani, who wants to marry Salahuddin. We feel very unsafe,” another woman said. “We want freedom and we will continue to say it.”

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