Manaal Andrabi, a counsellor at Tele-Manas. Kashmir’s dismal reality contrasts sharply with the projected resurgence of Kashmir, as advertised in jubilant government campaigns like #NayaKashmir. | Photo Credit: Raashid Andrabi


Wahid Mir, 43, from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, looks older than his years as prays at the graveyard in his village— it is a ritual he has been performing each morning for the last six years. He prays for his dead son and brother, both lost to the Kashmir conflict in 2016. His son, was only 10 when he was killed in a stone-pelting incident, and his brother died under similar circumstances two months later.

Mir worked in a local government school. Since the meagre salary was not enough to support his family, he left the job to try his luck at cricket, a game practised and followed with avid interest all over India, especially in Kashmir. Despite having talent, he failed to make a mark in the game. Financial struggles strained his marriage and soon, his wife left him. “Despite frequent fights, the couple were held together by their son. When they lost their only son, his wife moved out, leaving Mir alone with his loss,” said one of Mir’s friends.

Mir has attempted suicide over five times in the past three years. His story is representative of that of a considerable number of people in Kashmir who have been left depressed and traumatised by the prolonged conflict in the Union Territory (UT). The latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), published in December 2023, revealed that Jammu and Kashmir had the highest number of reported cases of attempted suicide in 2022. Of the 1,769 cases recorded by the Bureau across India in 2022, 497 were reported from the UT alone.

Jammu and Kashmir Police records revealed a rise in suicide attempts in 2021, with 586 cases reported in the Valley in 2021, compared to 472 cases in 2020. The trend was highlighted also by data from the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), which recorded 365 suicide attempts and 127 deaths between February 2021 and August 2022.

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