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Kashmir Unrest: Locals set up Roadside Community Kitchens against curfew to feed patients

Locals are also funding the makeshift structures to be transported to the hospitals

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Violence Struck Kashmir. Image Source: newsdog.today
  • The initiative has been serving food to the scores of patients and hundreds of attendants who were left helpless in the hospitals
  • Apparently, the hospitals had started to run out of food, since the place was flooded by attendants
  • Several Lungers in Srinagar (roadside kitchens) have been set up since then, which have been serving food to the hungry

Srinagar, July 12, 2016: Amid prevailing tension and violence in Kashmir Valley, the locals have come up together against curfew to help the victims.

Reportedly, people have started roadside community kitchens to feed those affected by the recent unrest in the state. These kitchens have been serving food to the scores of patients and hundreds of attendants who were left helpless in the hospitals.

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Apparently, the hospitals had started to run out of food, since the place was flooded by attendants when the locals stepped in. Curfew and restrictions added to the woes of the hospital authorities, making it all the more difficult to reach out to the food supplies.

After which the residents came out to support the authorities and fight the tough situation. Several Lungers in Srinagar (roadside kitchens) have been set up since then, which have been serving food to the hungry.

Speaking to India Today, a volunteer in one of the Lungers, said, “Like you know there is a crisis in the valley. People don’t have food to eat. We are helping by cooking here and then sending it to hospitals.”

Roadside Kitchen in Srinagar. Image Source: India Today
Roadside Kitchen in Srinagar. Image Source: India Today

There are several people who can be seen helping the victims by donating them rice, home cooked food and financially as well. Locals are also funding the makeshift structures to be transported to the hospitals.

Because the number of victims has crossed 1500, the hospitals in Kashmir are witnessing a huge influx of patients.

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Talking about the struggles the hospital authorities are facing, another volunteer claimed, “There is no government. Nobody is taking care. We are doing this for our people now.”

The valley is currently caught in crisis-like-situation that emerged with the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8. The situation since then has been tense with mounting violent incidents and the death toll rising to 32.

– prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff-writer at NewsGram. Twitter handle: iBulbul_

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Post-Pulwama, Kashmir Helpline Gets Over 500 Calls

About the challenges Ladakh faces after a Pulwama-type attack, he said its economy suffers since it is almost fully dependent on tourism

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Pulwama, JeM, Terror, Kashmir
The Indian Army said that all the top leadership of the JeM outfit have been eliminated by security forces in the Kashmir Valley within 100 hours of the terror attack. Pixabay

With nationalist sentiments on a high after the suicide attack that left 40 CRPF troopers dead, it is the Kashmiris around the country who have felt the heat. Post-February 14 Pulwama attack, a helpline for students from the state in the NCR area received over 500 calls — more than 25 calls a day.

Vidushi Kapoor, Jammu and Kashmir’s Liaison Officer in-charge of Delhi-NCR area, told IANS that although no major incident was reported, she received around 500-600 calls, especially from Dehradun, from Kashmiri students saying that they are “feeling insecure”.

“Police and college authorities were very helpful. Full security and support was provided to the students at all times,” she said. However, the charged-up environment and reports from other areas has prompted many Kashmiri students to return home, she added.

“The environment has cooled down now, but two weeks were quite upsetting… the students were really scared.”

Kapoor is one of the seven Liaison Officers appointed around the country by the state government in November 2018 for support of students from the state. After the attack, their contacts were published in newspapers and social media to enable students to contact them.

More worryingly, the situation also shows that the rift between the state’s three major regions – Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh – extends to influence the perception of their people around India.Kapoor noted that the helpline had not got a single call from any students from the Jammu region.

Meanwhile, it is those from the Kashmir Valley who are squeezed between the terror outfits and the security forces.

Noting how all this takes a mental toll on its residents, Mehr (name changed), a 21-year-old living in the Kashmir Valley, said: “We are in repressive conditions. Being surrounded by security men is normal for us…livelihood, schools being suspended is normal.”

About the Pulwama attack, she said: “Violence wouldn’t solve the issue. The attack was not a good thing” but noted that people joined militancy because of “excesses”.

Taniya Tikoo, a Kashmiri Pandit living in Delhi, said it is best for both India and Pakistan if Kashmiris are allowed to have a dialogue among themselves. “It will be a win-win situation for everyone,” she said.

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FILE – Indian paramilitary soldiers stand by the wreckage of a bus after an explosion in Pampore, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

People from Jammu region have a different take.

Citing the recent grenade attack in Jammu bus stand, Delhi University student Saloni, who hails from Kathua, said, “A lot of violence has shifted to Jammu (region).”

She demanded greater linkage between the state and India. “India has been investing so much… we should be integrated with the rest of the country and Articles 370, 35A (of the Constitution) should be scrapped – they have done no good so far.”

Hitu, another girl from Jammu region studying in Delhi, however, said whenever any violence takes place in Kashmir, it affects everyone including “our schools, banks, highways also close”.

She also said that people from Jammu and Ladakh region “have a general feeling of being ignored by the leaders”.

Jigmat Paljor, President of the Ladakh Student Welfare Society in Delhi, is in agreement with his Jammu counterparts – but to a point.

Paljor told IANS how his people feel alienated because with all focus on Kashmir, issues of Ladakh, which is the state’s biggest region but sparsely populated, get overlooked.

Also Read- Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

About the challenges Ladakh faces after a Pulwama-type attack, he said its economy suffers since it is almost fully dependent on tourism.

“And since Ladakh has a border with both Pakistan and China, there is always fear of tensions escalating….”

While Paljor maintains Kashmir is an integral part of the country, he wants Articles 370 and 35A to stay as his region “is very fragile and susceptible in terms of economy, culture, language, environment, from outside influence”. (IANS)