Reporting from Kashmir, 1989 to 1994 (Part 1)

Madhu Trehan and her former Newstrack colleagues Manoj Raghuvanshi and Alpana Kishore recount their experiences.

WrittenBy:NL Team
Date:
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To preempt mass protests against its dismantling of Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy, the Indian government put the Valley under a security lockdown and communications blackout. The lockdown, nearing a month and a half, has been so severe that even journalists have been finding it difficult to do their work. 

Not that it was easy to report from Kashmir before. Since the armed insurgency broke out in 1989, journalists covering the region have often had to negotiate tricky situations. 

In this series, “Reporting from Kashmir, 1989 to 1994”, Madhu Trehan and her former Newstrack colleagues Manoj Raghuvanshi and Alpana Kishore recount their time reporting from Kashmir, and what they learned from their experiences. “These two I would say are the ones in India and perhaps in the world who have done the most remarkable stories on Kashmir,” Madhu remarks, introducing her former colleagues. 

Manoj recalls that, on occasion, he had to risk his safety to record interviews and collect stories from Anantnag and Shopian in South Kashmir. “Shopian is a place where we almost got killed, twice,” he says.

Among the stories he covered in the early years of the insurgency was the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. He remembers interviewing Bitta Karate, a militant who was accused of killing Pandits and who told Manoj he could kill his own brother or mother if the situation so demanded.

It became dangerous for Manoj to report from Kashmir, so his colleague, Alpana, took over. She tracked the rise of Hizbul Mujahideen, the strongest indigenous militant group in the Valley, and the shifting of the Kashmir movement’s focus “from Azadi to an Islamic jihad or radicalisation”.

Stay tuned for the second part.

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