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The Two Cs: conflict and covid in Kashmir

The first quarter of 2020 came with some horrific scenes from all around the world. The pandemic was spreading, and quarantine and lockdowns were getting imposed everywhere. But somewhere in this world, people were already in lockdown since 2019. This was not just a stay-at-home lockdown but a lockdown on the internet, media, and freedom. This lockdown and all the restrictions which came with it. It wasn’t to curb the spread of the virus but to confiscate a human right, that is, freedom. With the dissolution of article 349, protests and agitation erupted in the disputed valley, and in return, the Indian state used its old technique, which is torture, pellet guns, and curfew. Not only business and other activities also went under lockdown, so the education had to suffer from both the Cs in 2020, “Conflict and Covid.”

This “World’s Longest Lockdown” (as per the time magazine) left students no option to stay at home before the world even know these words. Educators were isolated, and the means of all kinds of education were cut down. Now that the countries are using online technologies to educate their population, Kashmiri youth does not have access to simple connectivity, even phone calls, and SMS, and the condition is worsened since covid awareness is mostly done through TV and Internet which the oppressor regime has blocked.

The conflict has resulted in the closure of hundreds of schools in the valley, and now, when there is conflict, and covid financial conditions of the remaining schools are also challenged. Online education is difficult since access to the internet is curtailed—home tutoring in conflict areas already low because of violence and curfews. Women’s education in Kashmir is the lowest in India, and the pandemic is expected to deteriorate the situation. One of the most important things is the mental health issues the students and teachers must be facing as they have been facing violence and are living in fear. What the oppressor regime has to realize is that out of everyone, the children are facing the because of the conflict and covid.

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