SRINAGAR: As the sun set for the last time in 2007, the sunrise of 2008 will bring with it hope of peace, harmony and tranquility in this violence-hit Kashmir.2007, like any other year since 1989 witnessed the blasts, gunfights, arson, loot, plunder, killings, arrests, protests, rape and molestation in Kashmir. No doubt the violence level decreased, but still the minimized violence took its toll on Kashmiris. Hundreds of Kashmiris, (young, old, women, men) lost their lives to encounters, blasts and shoot-outs in 2007. There was no let-up in arrests and hundreds of people, mostly youth, were detained in 2007 and are presently languishing in jails and interrogation centres.
Scores of families lost their lone bread earners to the violence. Hundreds of families in the turmoil in Kashmir since 1989 have lost their only bread winner and are living a miserable life with no relief or assistance from any quarter. (The families of dead militants have been denied assistance by the Kashmir government).
Despite witnessing bloodshed in 2007, the people in Kashmir are hopeful that 2008 would bring peace, stability, harmony, tranquility and prosperity for them. “We hope that year 2008 will be the year of peace and harmony for Kashmiris”, said a teacher, Abdul Aziz.”People in Kashmir have witnessed enough bloodshed in the past 18 years and now they want an end to it. Let us hope that 2008 will bring a good news for Kashmiris and this bloodshed stops and peace and tranquility returns”, said a banker, Aijaz Ahmad.Like fellow Kashmiris, a housewife, Naseema too pins hope of peace on year 2008. “We hope that the sunrise of 2008 will bring peace for people of the sub-continent in general and Kashmir in particular”, she added.-SANA