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Himalaya

Day 41: Srinagar

Michael Palin - HimalayaOn the corner of the busy main street, Lal Chowk, and opposite the heavily fortified Telegraph Office stands the Greenway Hotel. Two weeks ago two suspected Islamic militants holed up here and withstood a siege for 20 hours before police blew the building apart with mortar fire. Ten people were killed and 40 wounded and the Greenway now consists of little more than half a roof, scorched black walls and a crumpled framework of charred and blistered timbers. Around the time this happened six more people were killed when a car blew up in the vegetable market.

On the edge of the old town is a patch of green grass and a stagnant rubbish-filled pond. Horses graze and dogs chase, snarl, fight and mate amongst the filth. Next door to this soiled little field is a small cemetery, neatly walled and fenced. Inside, gravestones fringed in green and topped with sturdy metal pennants mark the resting place of those who have died in the struggle. An arch over the entrance announces it as the Kashmir Martyrs' Graveyard. Most of the graves are inscribed in Urdu, but beneath a cypress a neglected metal sign in English reads:

'Master Shaheed Yawar Says
Do Not Shun The Gun
My Dear Younger Ones
The War For Freedom
Is Yet To Be Won.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 41: Srinagar
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Srinagar
  • Book page no: 92

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