When the longest-ever curfew in Kashmir caused breakups

Several love stories In Kashmir met with a “tragic end” during the unrest

When Kashmir erupted in the wake of killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8, Sameer (name changed), a budding businessman, received a phone call from his girlfriend, who asked him to stay indoors as she was “very concerned” about him.

Before the lovebirds finished talking, the mobile communication and internet services were suspended abruptly. Within hours, amid massive protests, curfew was clamped in the Valley.

Besieged, with no means of communication with his beloved who lived just a few miles away, Sameer started missing her badly. “I decided to propose her for marriage at the very next date possible.” However, situations in Kashmir worsened, distancing his dreams further.

Amid the longest-ever curfew of 52 days, coupled with telecommunication breakdown and hartal calls given by separatists, the besieged 7.5 million people of Kashmir were cut off from each other for over two months.

Except for 16,000-odd BSNL broadband connections and its postpaid mobiles, all other telecom services remained suspended. By now at least 90 persons were killed in the protests. Over 15,000 were wounded and another 10,000 arrested.

Though the situation improved a bit and people started venturing out during relaxation periods, life was not the same for lovers.

During the “communication gap”, his girlfriend had found a “better option.”

“After weeks of helplessness, the moment I managed to get in touch with her, her behavior was shocking… She had dumped me,” recaps the jilted lover.

Sameer is one of the many Kashmiris, whose love stories met a “tragic end” in the unrest.

Unlike on-screen, where Anushka Kapoor celebrates her heartbreak singing the breakup karliya, the real life stories aren’t as lively. Many jilted lovers had to opt for psychological counseling in real life.

Zoya Mir, a young psychologist in her 20s says she came across such cases in the recent past. “It was more about cases of infatuation where the more you meet or call each other, more the infatuation rises. But lack of connectivity had the opposite reaction,” explains Zoya, a gold medalist in Clinical Psychology.

“Interestingly,” she says, “this should have been typically true for adolescents alone. But I was given to understand that even adults suffered.”

A Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) heading a sensitive district in north Kashmir also said he came across many such situations. “Covering her face, a girl visited our police station only to tell her detained boyfriend, who was arrested on charges of stone pelting, to shun such activities or she would dump him. Many such love stories ended before our eyes,” the SSP told InUth.

In Kashmir’s conservative society, the separatists spearheading the ongoing agitation find it sinful to discuss love affairs.

“We don’t want to comment on these issues as they drag society towards immorality, which has always been our concern,” says advocate Shahid Ul Islam, the Media Head of Hurriyat M, the moderate face of separatists.