On lockdown in KashmirSaturday, October 8, 2016 Nimisha Jaiswal/Miranda Grant/IRIN
Twelve-year-old Inayat hasn’t been to school in months, and he can’t even go outside to play. Inayat lives in Srinagar, summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been paralyzed by protests against Indian rule since early July. The government has imposed curfews and cut communications for periods of time, while the opposition has enforced general strikes. On top of that, tensions have heated up between Pakistan and India, which both claim sovereignty over the entire Kashmir region, but administer about half the area each. The past couple weeks have seen shelling across the “Line of Control”, attacks on Indian military bases by militants crossing from Pakistan, and claims by India that it sent Special Forces over the de-facto border to carry out “surgical strikes” against militants. As the rhetoric from Delhi and Islamabad heats up, stone-throwing protesters continue to clash with police carrying pump-action shotguns that shoot lead pellets. More than 80 civilians have been killed, and hundreds more blinded. Amid the civil unrest and the fog of almost-war, normal life has ground to a halt for families like Inayat’s (who requested their last name be withheld).