The shadow of fear growing for the last many weeks now seems to have Kashmir’s Generation Next firmly in its grip.
Four days after he went missing, college student Asrar Ahmad Dar was found murdered on Wednesday morning in Rainawari, a thickly populated area in old Srinagar.
“I’m afraid to step out of my house even to go to college. There is no guarantee that I’ll return alive,” said Muhammad Fahad, in his final year of college. He said Dar’s killing had left him shocked and feeling insecure. Fahad is not alone.
The overwhelming sentiment among the young in the Valley is that of fear, triggered by incidents of the last few weeks.
In south Kashmir's Shopian two women, aged 17 and 22, were found dead on May 30. They were raped and murdered. Security forces were blamed and violent protests followed.
Even before Shopian could calm down, Barmulla was on the boil. A woman accused police of misbehaviour and angry people took to the streets. Four people died, allegedly in firing by security men.
“Right from Shopian, there has been no let up in killings or our pain… I just want to stay indoors,” said Nafeesa Shafi, a BA-II student.
The youth want to feel safe and want the government, led by a young Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah is just 39, to ensure it.
“…Asrar’s death has had a tremendous impact on our psyche. I’m very afraid,” said Nazia Khan, a B.Com final year student at the local Islamia College in Srinagar. She has been too disturbed to study.
Brutality with which he was killed had left her feeling ill, said Asiya Khan, who lives in Habba Kadal area of the old city. “He was one of us.”
Asiya has been having trouble studying and finding peace in prayer. “During prayers, his face flashes in front of my eyes.”
Answers are not coming their way, but the violence has led these youngsters to draw their own conclusion. “It seems a life is worth nothing in Kashmir,” said Nafeesa.