Amid no letup in student protests in a restive Kashmir, a picture of a school girl holding basketball literally close to her heart with one hand, and throwing a stone with the other, is going viral on social media in the valley.
The picture was captured near historic Lal Chowk in Srinagar on April 24, when massive pro-azadi protests by the student community broke out in the heart of summer capital. It shows a group of school girls presumed to be from nearby Kothibagh Girls Higher Secondary School, pelting stones at the police. Interestingly, though not in the picture, cops were seen countering the protests by these minors through the use of multiple forces like stone-pelting, tear gas shelling and lathi-charge.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one sums up the complete situation in Kashmir. The schoolgirl whose face is half-covered with her scarf seems to be an all-rounder of sorts. Her backpack is enough to convey that she is carrying books and thus studies, while the way she holds basketball even during protests shows her love for the game.
But then, she looks more committed to stage protests. And, this is where stone-pelting seems to be her top priority because she firmly throws the rock with the right hand while grips the ball tight to her chest in the left.
Prominent photojournalist Aman Farooq who captured the picture says he was himself astounded to see the “commitment of the girl” that she neither wanted to lose the grip on ball nor on the stone amid a topsy-turvy battle.
The picture has gone viral at a time, when in a bid to restore normalcy, the government is trying to lure more and more youth towards sporting activities, mainly through countrywide Khelo India scheme for which around 70,000 Kashmiri youth have already registered. Who knows if this veiled girl is also one of them?
Anyway, all such cosmetic efforts to restore normalcy seem to be losing grip. The picture is breaking the internet at a time when paramilitary CRPF issued a handout to announce that sporting activities like football tournaments have been initiated in the Valley in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
But then sports or no sports, the writing on the wall looks clear. Young-Kashmir is adapting itself to new techniques on how to strive for a resolution to Kashmir issue. This picture of schoolgirl conveys all: Close to heart is basketball, but more firmly she holds the stone!