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Project December 3, 2021

In Kashmir, mourning has become contentious

Country:

In India-controlled Kashmir, before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the bodies of civilians and local armed rebels, killed by the military, were handed over to their kin for last rites and burial. However, since the pandemic began, the bodies are buried in remote border areas in Kashmir, with Indian military and police stating that the funerals of these civilians and rebels, that are usually attended by an immensely large number of locals, can prove to be virus spreader events as well as sites for radicalization.

In response to this, the insurgent groups have also confiscated some bodies of military personnel after killing them.

In this project, families will talk about the rebels and military personnel, whose bodies were buried in remote locations or secretly, and what it signifies for families in terms of their inability to mourn and accessibility to the gravesites. In this, the focus is on how the confiscation of bodies changes the nature of memory, prolongs the suffering of families, and changes social meanings of mourning and politics. The principal interlocutors will be the mothers of these civilians/rebels/soldiers, whose bodies have been secretly buried.

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