[ Srinagar ]
North Indian Royal Enfield Ramble, Part 2: Leh – Srinagar (Kashmir)
After a day in Leh to rest, reminisce and acclimate, I pressed onward towards Kargil–on the Pakistan border–then to Srinigar, in the heart of Kashmir.
In Kargil, the hotel manager informed me a wildly popular pro-independence Kashmiri militant, Burhan Wani, had been gunned down by Indian security forces. [In actuality, he was arrested on trumped up “intelligence,” tortured, and miraculously “died” in custody, along with two of his compatriots.] The entire Kashmir region was responding with street violence and a multi-day strike.
The situation resulted in a few delays, one wild midnight ride in a convoy under military escort, some new friendships with local Kashmiris, and a much richer idea of the region’s history and ongoing troubles. It also made me painfully aware of how the tiny amount of information that makes it out of the valley is horribly biased and completely false. It’s simple propaganda and disinformation, which I saw over and over with my own eyes. Indian media outlets simply use the word “terrorist” for everyone that opposes their position, and Western media–outside the valley–have no interest in even discussing the situation.
Despite the despicable politics of oppression–and occasionally because of it–my ride was full of joyful encounters with wonderful human beings of every stripe.
Original Facebook micro-blog post is here, with per-image commentary.