Political Unrest in Kashmir Leaves Deep Psychological Scars in People

by Savitha C Muppala on Jul 27 2010 6:01 PM

 Political Unrest in Kashmir Leaves Deep Psychological Scars in People
The spate of shutdowns and curfews in the Kashmir valley have affected the locals psychologically.
The killings of at least 14 youth, mostly protestors, in the last few weeks triggered the biggest anti-India demonstrations in two years across Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.

"During the last 20-25 days, due to the tensed situation in the area, the stress levels among the youth have become very high. The youth have become captives of mental depression. There is a lot of frustration and hopelessness in them. Already there was so much of unemployment here, but now, due to these situations, there is more stress," said Niyaz Ellahi, a local from Srinagar.

The curfew has forced the locals to be captives in their own houses.

"In the families, earlier there was a bonding, and we used to see happy faces, that is no more seen. Especially in the last 20-25 days, the anger seen on people's faces," said Mushtaq Margoob, Head of Department, Psychiatric Disease Hospital, Srinagar.

Locals said the youth already suffer unemployment, but now they have become completely aimless due to the uncertain circumstances.

"The current situations have led to so much of stress among the people that people do not know what to do. People are not even sure that if they go out of the house, they will be able to come back home safely. People are very scared and confused," said Rabia, the President of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Srinagar.

According to a survey conducted in 2009 by the Kashmir chapter of the agency called Action Aid International, 29 percent of the unemployed males in Kashmir smoke in order to relax themselves. A whopping 12 per cent, which includes women, take sleeping pills to overcome stress. Four percent of the respondents of the survey take drugs to reduce mental tension.