The amazing things about history is that it repeats itself.
The saddening thing is that in Kashmir the only history oft repeated is the that which causes distress for the masses.
“Begar” or forced labour introduced by the Dogras had on the surface left us alone. But the fact remains that forced unpaid labour exists even today.
The ‘security forces’ ensure their own security, their own well being at the cost of the people who supposedly they are here to provide security to.
Army is forcing the men of Charle, Devar, and Khan Peto villages in Budgam district into labour, a delegation of residents told Greater Kashmir. Srinagar, Apr 30:
“I have been taken to camp many a time by these government gunmen and I was forced to cut timber for Bukharis (wooden heaters). I have six mouths to feed and it means loss of earning, but I can’t say no to them. They are brutes, they can implicate you in false cases, they can kill you,” said a villager, requesting his name should not be mentioned. April 30, 2007
The mourning residents of the village told the DC and the RR commander, “your troops regularly knock at our doors in the night and harass us masquerading as militants. They take us into forest, force us to fell the trees and saw the timber. They also force the artisans to make beds, boxes and other items from the timber. For the daylong forced labour we are paid two and half kilograms of rice or two litres of kerosene. Sometimes they don’t pay even that. We are forced to look for explosives on the roadsides.” April 12, 2006