Faizan, a twelve-year-old boy, was killed by the SOG(a counter-insurgency unit of local police) men back in the summer unrest of 2010 in Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
As per his family, Faizan was chased by SOG men when he was playing cricket in a local playground. After being hit on the head with a rifle’s buttstock, he was dumped into the river Jehlum. His dead body was recovered two days later. The accused were never punished or tried for their crime.
Community Correspondent Abid Salaam reports from Baramulla district of Jammu & Kashmir.
Abid Salam War is from a border district of North Kashmir that has seen some of the worst violence from the conflict, due to its proximity to the Pakistan border. Abid joined Video Volunteers’ project KashmirUnheard as a student in September 2014.
Abid brings out narratives of the lesser-known aspects of the conflict – the women, men, the minorities, the state neglect of facilities for everyday life, to the world. The youngest of the three siblings, Abid is a journalist and a community correspondent who strives to bring different perspectives of an issue to the forefront so that people can be better informed and can shed their biases. He has extensively covered stories on the minority communities of the valley such as Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs, the Kashmir conflict, the lack of healthcare and educational facilities but the theme closest to his heart has always remained gender and sports. “I want people and administration of the valley to know that at the end of all the violence, discrimination and apathy, the valley’s people and their lives are affected the most,” reveals Abid. His video on the death of a Police Constable during the Kashmir Unrest brought this perspective to the forefront.
Having witnessed gender inequality at close quarters in his community, Abid strongly feels for the cause since his early days. A former sportsperson, Abid has seen the same gender inequality being projected on the sports field and had aimed to change the scenario one day. However, it was not until he participated in Video Volunteers gender workshop that he truly understood the extent of this inequality. “The first time I heard the word patriarchy was at the gender workshop in Goa. The workshop made me realise how gender discrimination is perpetuated in our very house without even realising that we are discriminating against our sisters, mothers, friends and every woman,” confesses Abid. Through his videos, Abid has been slowly chipping the patriarchal glacier away, one bit at a time. His video on Iqra Rasool, the teenage female cricketer from has helped stirred conversations amongst the community to recognise a girl’s potential, away from her gender. Thanks to Abid’s video, Iqra has started receiving financial and technical support from different quarters of the society to help her further in cricket. “It will be an honour if my stories can contribute towards an equal society,” says Abid.
Danish Manzoor, a Taekwondo player from Baramullah district also received help due to Abid’s video on the government and sports authority’s negligence towards the 15-time-national and state champion. “After seeing my story, the Army has forwarded financial help for sport, a taekwondo institute has offered a free 6-month course to hone his competitive skills. I feel that his dream of qualifying for the Olympics will finally become a reality,” says an elated Abid.
An upcoming writer, Abid has written and documented protests against state encounters in the area. He is a freelance journalist and has contributed to several of the valley’s dailies. His documentary “Justice Denied”, documents the families and lives of missing persons from Kashmir, being picked up in the 1990s. “It is a reminder to the world that justice still awaits them,” says Abid.