Kashmiri children have been witness to the violence from birth and it has a definite bearing on their psyche.
Impact of violence on Childrens behaviour is manifest in their reaction to it. They have started innovative ways such as pelting stones on security forces to give vent to their frustration and protest what they consider denial of a right to live as free people. In turn they get attacked by the armed forces with pellets, rubber bullets, sling shots, tear gas shells and even live bullets. This leads to injuries, more deaths and more violence.
Most of the young people on the streets pelting police and armed forces with rocks are school and college going students. Stone, it seems, has become an easily accessible raw weapon, the weapon of choice for these protesters.
Past two or three generations in Kashmir have grown up in this atmosphere of violence and turmoil. The absence of peace and the cloud of violence is almost palpable.
During festivals such as Eid, toy guns designed as AK-47 and AK-56 are extremely popular among young of Kashmir and games played are often militant versus army. They are uploading videos of themselves taking part in ambushes on social media, imitating militants and security forces. A few parade with toy guns carved out of wood thus showing how they have grown up in turmoil.
Remember death of militants, who often are known to children of their villages have a deep impact on their psyche. Thats why one can often witness children and teenagers among protesters pelting armed forces with stones. Many children have been killed as a result especially at encounter sites.
Education sector has been badly hit in Kashmir Valley causing irreversible loss to these children. Economic Survey Report has said: Due to the closure of schools, the academic session got badly hit to the extent that it caused irreversible loss of study and tuitions to the students. The exams conducted by J&K Board and DIET even at University level got no accountability because they have hit by stone pelting and protestations badly.
Continuous violence and ongoing human rights violations and denial of justice to the victims too adds to their injured psyche. Remember militants of today were normal kids till yesterday.
Sheikh Arshid Ahmad
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