What is your opinion on Kashmiris

Kashmir's beauty is legendary. The same name also applies to the wool of the same name. What hardly anyone knows: the high valley between India and Pakistan is the most militarized region in the world. Fear and violence rule. Waseem Jarral has lived in the accommodation on Krankenhausstrasse in Wasserburg for more than a year. He had to leave his home.

Moated castle - Kashmir is 1700 meters above sea level, the air is clear, the grass looks greener than elsewhere, the sky bluer and the snow on the Himalayan mountains more sparkling. In summer, drizzle falls from the sky and creates a fine haze of mist over the contours of the landscape that is Waseem Jarral's home. He is a young man of 24 years, he likes it when it rains outside. When the sky over Wasserburg is gray and you shiver from the cold, he laughs and says: Nice weather! He wears a thin T-shirt under his jacket and rarely socks. “I am Kashmiri,” he introduces himself, a member of the “Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front”, a liberation movement that is waging a peaceful struggle for the independence of Kashmir.

The valley has been a highly explosive crisis area since the division of the British colony of India in 1947. The principality of Kashmir fell to India in continued bloody fighting between India and Pakistan, although the population favored independence. A referendum promised by India at the United Nations never came about.

Surrounded by three nuclear powers - besides Pakistan and India also China - the Kashmiri's desire for self-determination is violently suppressed, 700,000 soldiers and police officers control the population in the Indian part, houses can be searched day and night and suspects arrested. The hospitals are attacked, telephone and Internet access are cut. Kashmir is the most militarized zone in the world.

The anger of the population has been unleashed for several months and the soldiers have been countering mass street protests, especially since the security forces killed a 22-year-old - he was a Facebook star, revered as a new Che Guevara. Young people, some almost still children, set out to defy military power and throw stones at the soldiers. The soldiers fire shot into the crowd with pump guns, often aimed at the eyes. Observers speak of an "intifada in Kashmir".

Waseem Jarral sees these images of the daily dead and injured on the display of his cell phone. Islam “is peace and mercy”, peace and grace, he says again and again, almost imploringly after Islamist attacks, whether in Pakistan or in Europe. Most of his thoughts are in Kashmir. The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKFL), to which he belongs, sees itself as the peaceful arm of the protests for self-determination and independence from both India and Pakistan, but even the leaders of peaceful protests are repeatedly detained for no reason.

When asked about his childhood, one gets a somewhat perplexed look. “The country had problems,” he replies, which probably means: the family too. Waseem Jaral's father worked in an iron ore mine, after his dismissal he went to Saudi Arabia as a worker. Today he is seriously ill. Waseem trained as an electrical mechanic. When the owner gave up the company, he initially worked as a seller of clothes and shoes, and later in an electrical goods factory. He began to support the political struggle of the JKFL and began to learn: the history of the country, the reasons for the persistent poverty of the population, despite the many natural resources, despite the cashmere wool from the peritoneum of the cashmere goats, which is spun and woven and in homework is exported worldwide as a luxury good. The population remains poor, but is still subject to high taxes. Conditions prevail as they were centuries ago. In many places there are no schools, no hospitals.

His political work brought Waseem Jarral into the sights of the Pakistani secret service ISI - one of the most powerful and probably most corrupt secret services in Asia. During a street demonstration by the JKLF, he was arrested, detained overnight and mistreated, surprisingly released the next morning, but abducted from his parents' house by members of the secret service the following night. During interrogation, seven men beat him with wooden sticks until he passed out and did not wake up with a bleeding head until the next day. He was held for two days and given food that he vomited and feared he would be poisoned. That night he was thrown out of the car near his parents' house. Two weeks later, ISI agents came again at night and abducted him. He was released again the next day, but threatened with further arrests and abuse. The parents advised their son to flee.

He left the country within a week, walked long distances, sometimes a car took him, it went via Iran and Turkey to Greece, interrupted again and again to earn the money for the onward journey and the tug. He stayed in Greece for three years and worked in various jobs. He was registered with his fingerprints, but could not apply for asylum. So he traveled on to Germany in the summer of 2015 - even before Merkel's “We can do it”. In total, the escape cost the equivalent of 6,000 euros. In order to raise the money, the father had sold a piece of land, in Greece an uncle helped. On the way, Waseem learned something of the foreign languages ​​everywhere, besides Kashmiri, Urdu and Hindi, he speaks good English, a little Greek and a little German.

He brought all this up at the hearing on his asylum procedure, when he was asked to state the “facts and reasons” that “stand in the way of his deportation”. His organization issued a letter certifying membership and testifying to the arbitrary arrests and mistreatment. In addition, photos by a Wasserburg doctor document the consequences of the abuse on the face, arms and legs during interrogation.

Photos by a Wasserburg doctor document the consequences of the abuse on the face, arms and legs during interrogation

Now he is waiting in the accommodation on Krankenhausstrasse, together with more than 40 Pakistani people, for the decision. At first he seemed happy when he was accepted into one of the preparatory classes at the vocational school, but since the Pakistani asylum applications have been rejected, he has been working in one of the shadow jobs in Munich. Until recently, he said he felt bad every time he picked up his pocket money, he didn't want the state to have to feed him. Now he has decided: What use is it to learn German, to prepare for an apprenticeship, if there is a risk of deportation anyway.

He seems like a lone fighter, one who fights for the attention of the UN, human rights organizations and the global public for the bloody everyday life in his country. Do the dead of Kashmir not have the same right to attention as the lost lives in Syria, or in Paris or in Berlin?

“I ask for help,” is the last sentence in the transcript of Waseem Jarral's hearing.