Asif Majeeb Dar, a young man who works behind a cafe counter at the airport in Srinagar, Kashmir’s biggest city, said that before India’s move on Kashmir, few people supported the militants.
“But that’s changing,” he said. “The government has forced our hand.”
Many Kashmiris feel that Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India betrayed them. They don’t like even hearing his name.
“My mom says, ‘Stay away from the TV, don’t pay any attention to Modi, just get back to your studies,’” said Sofi Maryam Javeed, a fifth-grade student.
The competing pressures that people face put them in untenable positions every day.
One of them, a wholesaler named Ghulam Mohammed Mir, had been warned by militants to close the shop where he sold rice, flour, sugar and other provisions. The separatists fatally shot him on Aug. 29, according to witnesses and security officials.
Other shopkeepers expressed little sympathy. Several said he deserved it because he had been warned.
But a prominent merchant is one thing; a 5-year-old girl another. A new sense of outrage has been stirred up by the militants’ shooting of Asma Jaan after wounding three men at her family’s home.
As a wealthy apple trader, Hamidullah, the girl’s grandfather, had hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and said he needed to move his apples to stay afloat. Apples are a huge business in Kashmir, the source of countless livelihoods, and several Kashmiris said shooting a child crossed a line.
“Those militants committed a heinous crime,’’ said Irshad Ahmed, a waiter at a Srinagar hotel. “Who do you think will side with them now?’’