November 9, 2016

In Kashmir, students turn to basketball for respite from turmoil and curfews

Kashmir, that firdaus, that heaven on Earth, has for decades been a place as cursed with violence as it's been blessed with beauty. India's northernmost state has been especially facing unrest and conflict over the last few months: the killing of Burhan Wani by Indian security forces in July set off a series of protests in the state which led to eventual clashes between Indian paramilitary forces and the citizens. Many districts in the state have faced curfew in the duration and aftermath of these clashes.

But, after more than three months of being held prisoner in their own homes, many young students in Srinagar - Jammu and Kashmir's capital - found respite as they headed outdoors for basketball.

The Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council (JKSSC) took a step in diverting the attention of students and youth from the ongoing disturbance in the Kashmir Valley by hosting a basketball tournament in Srinagar, reported ANI. The tournament was held at the newly inaugurated Indoor Stadium in the city from November 1-3, 2016, and said to have involved over 100 participants.

Via ANI on Business Standard

Around 100 students participated in the tournament and expressed relief at coming out of their homes after more than three months. Some said that the disturbed situation in the valley had taken a toll of their physical and mental health, and hampered their studies and extracurricular activities. They said the tournament had provided them with some relief and has filled them with hope.
"If tournaments like this are organised, then children will be gainfully occupied. It is almost going to be four months since the curfew was imposed in the valley. Schools have been closed and children want to be involved in such curricular activities," said Rehan, a player.

We know that basketball is not going to solve any problems, but it can definitely be a small part of the solution. The Valley has had its share of suffering and turmoil in recent months; kudos to the JKSSC for helping a few young players find some respite in the distraction of this wonderful game!

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