Individual narratives as told by fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and wives, of the process of arrest, search, and struggle, reveal the outlines of a system of military control and fear. The search for the missing is a desperate, all-consuming endeavor. It forces the families—housewives, elderly parents, young children, brothers and sisters with families of their own—to confront the army and police. The army camps are infamous as torture centers, where they “eat people.” Prisons, hospitals, morgues become familiar destinations, with each visit raising new fears of what might have befallen the missing one. Dangerous, expensive journeys are undertaken to the far-off Indian cities, where Muslim Kashmiris are treated as foreigners, required by law to register with the police and inform them of all movements, to search the prisons there. In the popular Indian imagination, Kashmiris are tagged as “terrorists,” making them fair game for a spot of nationalist violence, at any time and any place. And yet through the search, the only fear is that there might be some road, some jail, some location, that one might miss, that one step that would release the dear one from unthinkable torture and pain. The tortures practiced upon prisoners in the army camps and interrogation centers are common knowledge in Kashmir.
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