By Sharanya Gopinathan
A seven-year-old girl was killed by a ‘stray bullet’ in Kupwara, Kashmir during an encounter between government forces and militants early yesterday morning. Horrifyingly, the girl, identified as Kaneez, and a boy named Faisal Ahmed were both hit by bullets and taken to the hospital. Kaneez succumbed to her injuries, and Faisal is undergoing treatment in Srinagar. Kaneez was reportedly inside her home when she was struck by ‘stray’ bullets.
Many news outlets in Kashmir reported on this incident rightly focusing on the senseless death of a seven year old girl and the injury of a young boy, like in the headline in Greater Kashmir which reads, ”Stray bullet’ kills minor girl, injures boy’. The rest of India barely reported on it, but when they did, they ran headlines that mentioned that a girl along with three militants, had been killed. The choice of words and the incidents that different news outlets choose to focus on say a lot about what different audiences find important in the narrative around Kashmir.
Just last week, another fifteen year old boy was killed in Kashmir by a ‘stray bullet’ which struck him in the neck. Another youth had a heart attack when running away from police during a protest. Even after the curfew that was imposed in the region was lifted in October 2016, there clearly continues to be a spate of minors being killed in Kashmir.