Editorial|Karnah calling

Photo: Mubashir Khan/GK
Photo: Mubashir Khan/GK

Here is how a participant in the protest articulates theplight of his region during winter months: "The road is closed for three monthsnow. We do not have food to eat, there is no power supply and no gas so that wecan cook food.

The government has failed to help us. We are going toboycott elections". This man comes from Karnah, a far flung area in the Kupwaradistrict. The protest was held by a small number of residents of thisgod-forsaken hamlet after three persons died in a snow blizzard near Khuni Nallah,at Sadhna top.

Sadhna top is the upper most point of the hill that standsbetween the Tandhar region and the Chowkibal area of the Kupwara district.

The road that passes along and over this hill is the loneroad connection for these hapless people to travel in and out of their areas.As the focus, during winter months, remains on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, allother areas that suffer because of the closure of roads go unattended. One sucharea is the Karnah region. The people of this region are practically cut offfrom the rest of the world during winter months.

As the words of the protestor tell us, this entire winterthe road has remained closed. In such a situation what could be life for theresidents of the areas beyond this Sadhana top. How do they take care of theold and ailing. What happens to education. And what becomes of the commercialactivities. One can easily call it a hibernation spread over months where lifegoes into hiding.

In such a situation if these people protest, it speaks of thedeep seated apathy on part of the structure of governance that has managed thissate for all the 70 years. Before that, the story of these areas was not sodark. They turned into border regions only because of what happened to thisstate.

Before that dividing line cut across the human habitationsthese areas were bustling with life and never remained in a state of isolation.It is a huge question mark on the very idea of governance that has managed theaffairs of this state for last 70 years. If these people ask for a tunnel, sothat they stay connected with the outer world, they are not asking for moon.

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