The curfew in the Valley made life difficult for those living there, especially for students
ON AUGUST 4, 2019, the common masses in the Kashmir Valley were in a state of confusion as rumours of scrapping Article 370 were being shared through various social media platforms. The next day I woke up and was surprised to see a curfew-like situation and communication blackout in the whole Valley.
It was not a normal situation for me because the rumours that I heard before the abrogation of the Article 370 were turning out to be true. After the communication blackout, I was completely disconnected from the world. This is one of the worst shutdowns I have seen in the region. My life shattered in that very moment. I was so frustrated as I was not even allowed to step outside because of the curfew. I spend almost three months inside my home like a prisoner. I had no idea what was going to happen next. It was a war like situation.
During these four months, the education sector was hit in the Valley causing irreversible loss to students. The schools and universities remained closed since August 4, all exams were cancelled, hostels were vacated, even non-local students were evacuated from NIT Srinagar. Colleges and schools were under the control of BSF. The government did attempt to reopen the institutions after one week, but attendance remained poor as parents feared their children’s safety. This break in education for me was unpredictable, and filled with fear and trauma.
My semester exams were about to begin from September. But were cancelled because of this situation. As a result, I will not get my degree on time and one more year will be required for its completion. I almost missed 450 classes in this year because of the hartals (strikes).
Two months after the lockdown, postpaid mobile services were resumed and I was finally able to connect to my peers but nothing much changed. I was still behind the doors of my home. Then in November, University classes resumed but not properly. I was informed that my exams are starting from December. But my parents were not in favour of this decision as they feared about my safety. Somehow, I managed to appear for the exams but faced many difficulties as there was no transport available, and the toughest part was that I could not access the internet to gather notes for my preparation. This was the worst experience I have ever been through, which I will never forget.
Also, because of the internet gag, me and my friends were not able to do internship in Kashmir and have to come to Delhi to do so. Moreover, even today, the situation is same in Kashmir: no education, no internet and no life!
“It is true that he who opens the school door closes a prison but in certain situations when school door has no way left to open then one faces no other chance then being in a prison “