It is a part of the world where even peace time can resemble war. Although violence peaked in the 1990s—the bloody consequence, says New Delhi, of a Pakistan sponsored insurgency—hundreds of thousands of Indian soldiers and paramilitary personnel remained stationed in the Indian section. A special law gives these forces wide ranging powers to search, detain and shoot at civilians, an authority that rights groups accuse the Indians of misusing—and one that has bred an atmosphere of suspicion among young Kashmiris.
The result is that, even outside times of full blown conflict, the region suffers depressingly regular convulsions of violence, with cycles of protest against the security forces followed by crackdowns and military curfews that bring life to a standstill. For Yasin, who switched from shooting videos to taking photos in 2005, that makes the job of recording and reporting on the Kashmir story a daily task. “We cover this conflict day in and day out. It is our daily life,” he tells TIME. “It does not stop.”
Yasin has been a witness since he was a boy. “The first dead body I saw… I must have been in year five or six at school. There was a protest in Srinagar and 15 guys were shot, and one of the guys who was shot was my neighbor and he was shot right outside our home. It was back in the 80s,” says Yasin, whose elder brother and a cousin are also photojournalists. “We are a family of photojournalists. Growing up, we had a dark room at home.”
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