The accused in the infamous Shopian double rape and murder case may be behind bars but the indignity inflicted on this town, situated on the banks of the Rambiara river, has changed a lot of things. And for the worse, it is feared.
For long, Shopian has been the cradle of women's cricket in the state with seven of the 16 girls in the under-19 team hailing from here. It also has a 20-member team and the district association is in talks with the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association for affiliation.
The wait for membership may be never-ending, as the girls might never get to play again.
Stung by the piece of infamy, overzealous parents have placed their wards under virtual house arrest, leaving the budding cricketers with little to look forward to.
A case in point is that of Summayah Isak's. The 17-year-old all-rounder represented her state twice (2007, 2008) in the under-19 championship, organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, but now yearns to wield the willow.
“I don't play anymore,” Summayah says with a resigned look.
“My parents think it's not safe to play here, but the fact is this has been happening since ages. The agitation and the drama that followed robbed us of whatever little freedom we enjoyed. The curbs are manifold — no mobile phones, we have to reach home before sunset and no more outstation trips,” she added.
“The Army has been here ever since I was born and we have learnt to coexist with them. We understand they can be a problem but then they made this for us to play,” says another player pointing to the nearby Army Stadium. “I never thought my life would change so dramatically and that too for no fault of mine,” she added.
The stadium is a symbol of the Army's efforts to build bridges with the local populace. With the girls staying away, boys have taken over.
“What should we do now,” asks Summayah. “Probably, attend school,” is her solution.