Barbed wire is a common sight in Indian-administered Kashmir. More than 25 years ago Indian troops sent to suppress militant groups embarked on an armed struggle for independence first set up barricades made with barbed wire around bunkers and camps. Today it is everywhere, and injuries to children and adults who have accidentally walked or run into it are common.
The Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of political and social groups seeking self-determination in Kashmir, last year filed a petition before the state’s Human Rights Commission seeking the removal of the barbed wire from major roads and thoroughfares in the interest of safety. No action was taken.
In places where army bunkers from years ago have been removed, the barbed wire that fenced them off still remains, causing injury to pedestrians. At various points, where barbed wire from bunkers was removed few years earlier, it is still found there lying haphazardly causing hurdles to the free movement of the people and very often injuring them or cutting their clothes.
Bilal Ahmad opened a store at a railway station in his village expecting good business, but immediately after the station was made functional in 2009 a barbed wire fencing was installed in front of his store.
“I don’t understand why the railway station was fenced with barbed wire from my side when its other three sides are completely open. I tried to convince the concerned officials to cut it few a yards in front of my store as it was no security threat to anyone, but they did not allow it,” he said.