RealNews

Fresh killings mar peace hopes

Jason Burke finds fear and despair in Srinagar, where a brief summer lull in hostilities has given way to violence that has racked this paradise for 56 years. They have learnt not to ask too many questions in Sopore. So when, a week ago, a young man brought his brother to the town’s hospital, with a bullet wound in the back of the head, the doctors said little. They did what they could. When he died they watched as the body was spirited away into the night. The man was killed by ‘unknown persons’. In Sopore, a village 30 miles from the de facto boundary dividing the Himalayan mountain state of Kashmir between Pakistan and India, ‘unknown persons’ kill or injure scores each month. ‘We just treat them as best we can,’ said Umer, a hospital worker. ‘We don’t want to know who or what has caused their injuries. We don’t ask questions.’ Sopore, which sits high in the mountainous north-west of India, is at the heart of one of the world’s most vicious conflicts. During the day children play in the dirt streets, ignoring patrolling paramilitaries and convoys of armoured trucks. At dusk the fading sun shines through yellowing leaves on the cypress trees and reflects off ice-cold lakes. In this twilight, the bunkers and barbed wire cannot be seen and you can imagine there is no war. Full Story

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