Human nature is such that you dont realise the injustice meted at people unless you yourself become a victim of it. I too couldnt fathom the hatred that the people of India held for Kashmiris until I myself faced it in the worst form.
Five months ago, I went to Pune for a job. I am a student pursuing my undergraduate through distance mode. I have done an engineering diploma in IT and Electronics and a one year diploma in computer applications. I was working with a Pune based NGO (name withheld) for the last three years and was invited by the organisation President to take up a job in their Head Office in Pune. On asking him about the position I would be working as, he assured me that I would be working as a part time co-coordinator and a part time computer operator. Now, such job prospects dont come your way so easily, especially if you are still a student. So I started my journey to Pune in a blissful mood. I thought that the job would also help me gain practical knowledge and experience besides the steady pay check. But on reaching Pune, all my hopes and aspirations were dashed to ground. The management first told me that I would be able to start working in a weeks time and till then would have to help in their bakery. But even after a month, nothing concrete had materialised. I was then asked to do a computer course (because they get funds for it) on the pretext that this course would improve my job prospects in the said NGO. I joined a three months graphic designing course which kept me occupied for about an hour and a half each day. But for the rest of the day, I was sitting idle with no salary.
Faced with the need of choosing between supporting my family or burdening my already overburdened father, I approached the president several times and requested for the job I was promised in the first place. But he kept refusing. Without responsibility letter, outsiders cannot get a job in Pune, so I was completely at his beck and call. With no other options on site, I, like I had been taught since my childhood, started reciting the holy Quran and seeking the Almightys help in solving my problems. However, as soon as I started reciting the Quran, all other employees began treating me like some kind of a spy. Some even confronted me and asked me if I was on a mission to collect data about their NGO because I knew they were working with the Indian army. The NGOs president even seemed scared and kept telling me that he knew I would have him killed the next time he visited Kashmir. I was very confused by this sudden change of events and asked the president how he expected a person who had never even killed a single insect in his life to kill a human being? The entire office was looking at me with suspicion and treating me like some kind of a ticking bomb. So I had no option but to ask the president to let me go home. Instead, he asked me to visit his house so that we could talk at ease there. On reaching his place, I found the whole team there. I was offered a cup of tea that tasted odd but not wanting to come across as rude, I drank it quietly. After about 10 minutes, I felt myself getting heavy and fuzzy. It felt like all my senses had deserted me. I could see that everyone in the room was laughing at me and jeering at me. Somehow I managed to come out of the room and call my teacher. I requested him to help me get home as I was on the verge of madness. Luckily, this teacher of mine had worked with the said NGO for a long time and he was able to send me home within 2 days. But those two days proved to be the worst nightmare of my entire life. It is not possible to describe what all I went through, but suffice to say that I realised that Kashmiris will never be considered as Indians. For them, we will always be terrorists who deserve to be killed and brutalised. I am now back home and doing a good job. I may not be earning as much but at least I am safe and no one calls me a terrorist here.
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