Years of working with corrupt cops and compromised militants in war-torn Kashmir has hardened Superintendent Farooq Reshi. But when a serial bomber targets Srinagar, even Reshi’s cynicism is tested. Read an excerpt from Gold Flake available now on the Juggernaut App:
In the late 1990s, when I took charge of the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Special Operations Group, there were no crimes that had to do with loot or pussy. No normal crime at all, in fact. No one came any more to complain that their bicycle had been stolen, or home broken into. This one time, a couple of guys who’d been drinking in some hole off Regal Chowk went for each other with a broken bottle. I was so delighted I gave them both an unopened bottle of booze and had them dropped back.
Every month, hundreds of people were killed, civilians and combatants alike: every single corpse a victory for someone’s cause. The Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq, Srinagar’s chief cleric, was assassinated, and buried in the Martyrs’ Graveyard. The guy who killed him, Abdullah Bangroo, was killed a while later. They buried him in the Martyrs’ Graveyard, too. I’m pretty sure that had someone managed to blow me up, there’d have been even odds that I ended up there as well.
Kashmir had eradicated sin from its being, replacing it with the ferocious certainties of a cause: an independent land, to be ruled by God’s word, where all would be servants of one truth.
People used to ask me, sometimes, how it felt to wear a uniform that marked me as an enemy of my own people. The answer depended on who was doing the asking. I’d tell some I wasn’t fighting my people: my family came from the mountains of Poonch, long locked in mutual loathing with the peoples of the Kashmir Valley. To others, I advertised myself as an Indian patriot. Lieutenant-General Ravi Sharma heard from me, one gin-soaked afternoon in Rafiabad, that I’d seen Shiva emerge from Chandratal on a full moon night, and was moved to do battle for his cause in Kashmir.
Read Gold Flake by Praveen Swami, exclusively on the Juggernaut App