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The Forgotten Youth of Kashmir

Violent conflicts have plagued humanity since the beginning of its existence, but few can equal the brutality and extensiveness as that of the Kashmir Valley conflict in South Asia (between India and Pakistan).

Kashmir is no stranger to forgetting its children in the storms of war and aggression. The horrific environment these children are growing up in is taking their childhood, which so many westerners take for granted, and crushing it under the cruelty and bloodshed that has become the norm of the state. No group is safe as these children don’t have the institutions needed to grow up and become fully functioning contributors to society.

These institutions vary from person to person. For the special needs children of the war-torn valley, it is the absence of a support system to help them adapt to the world around them. For others, it is simply the absence of any type of security as UN laws, protecting children 18 years old and under, are ignored. All children, from the youngest up to teenagers, are at risk just by living in the valley itself.

Two children of a cleric, 2 and 3 years old, were murdered in cold blood. A 17 year old was arrested without reason. These arrests and murders have created a world unlike any other, a world where rioting in the streets do not just belong to the men of the war-torn cities and country side, but also their youth (regardless of whether they want to or not).

While some are attacked as part of these riots, others are simply caught in the crossfire. These issues are causing these youth to miss vitally critical periods of development causing psychological and physical disorders (e.g. depression and susceptibility to various disease) to become widespread and add to the ever-growing abnormal “norm” of this society.

Though progress has started to take shape, it is crucial to grow this progress into significant change. With the growing potential for war in Eastern Europe, these children will once again be forgotten if actions are not taken now to make permanent programs and organizations to help the forgotten youth of Kashmir.

[Image Attribute: dying regime]
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