Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, 30 August 2019
At 4:15 am on 30 August 2019, 25 days into an unprecedented clampdown in Srinagar. Four of us from StoriesAsia headed into what has come to be known as the neighbourhood of resistance in Kashmir.
Soura seemed quiet as we entered. Young men stood around small fires against a dark, ominous sky. They were on an overnight vigil meant to keep out what they termed as attempted intrusions by the security forces. It was Friday, and they expected trouble.
Just after the prayers at the Soura mosque concluded, the residents raised loud slogans on the open grounds surrounding the Mosque. About thirty minutes into the protest, the deafening screams of the protesters were disrupted by what sounded like a teargas gun going off.
Scores of young boys unafraid of what lay before them headed in the direction of the sound. A pitched battle ensued between the Security forces and the young Kashmiris from the locality who picked up rocks, bricks and anything that could be used as a projectile. Intermittently through the next few hours till dusk, the injured were carried into the Mosque. A doctor had miraculously appeared in a hurriedly set up emergency room and was administering basic first aid. Before he took over, the locals had been using thumb and finger pressure techniques to push the pellets out of the riddled bodies that lay all around. Amazingly nobody was killed.
As the confrontation ended, the locality was abuzz with news of what had transpired during the day. The locals said that it was the worst day for them since Article 370 was abrogated by the Indian government, taking away the special status that had been accorded upon the state(now Union Territory) for decades. Most people felt betrayed by how things had unfolded since restrictions were imposed on them following the decision to take away their civil liberties and rights as citizens.
All photographs by Vivek Singh