A group of special Indian police barged into a white-painted, single-storey house on the crisp morning of October 27th. They let their lathis do the talking. The wooden batons were first rammed through all the windows, furniture and a television. When the grey-haired owners protested, the rods were turned on them. The police broke the husband’s leg and beat his wife’s flesh a sickly purple. Before leaving, the officers added an insult, hurling religious books, including a Koran, to the floor.
Such intrusions are common in Palhallan, a hillside settlement in the north of Indian-run Kashmir. It looks like an idyllic rural spot, where bushels of red chilies hang from the eves of steep-roofed wooden houses and hay wains jostle with shepherds in narrow streets. But the village has been caught up in months of violent protests that have roiled Kashmir. In 2010 an uprising led by youthful Kashmiri separatists left over 110 people dead and thousands injured. Youngsters daub anti-India slogans on walls, yell at Indian police and soldiers to “go home”, and hurl stones.
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