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Srikanth Kolari | Artist’s Statements

Kashmir

Psychiatrists claim that up to 90 per cent of the Valley’s population of around six million has been affected by
post-traumatic or depressive disorder. Amsterdam-based Medecins Sans Frontiers estimates that 33 per cent of
Kashmiris suffer from psychological distress, the highest in the world. Doctors at the lone psychiatric hospital say that they would receive just one patient a day when the conflict began in 1989. Five years on, there was a 300 per cent jump in the that number.

Worse was to follow - from 1994 onwards, they started seeing 300 patients a day and around 80,000 patients a year. Each patient, of course, got no more than a two-minute appointment in the hospital’s outpatients’ department. Experts, however, say only a fraction of mental health patients have received psychiatric help. People from far-flung areas, which have taken the brunt of the conflict’s invisible casualty, don’t have the resources to seek psychiatric help.

The 20-year insurgency has left a deep psychological impact, with a large section of the population suffering from
depression, chronic post-traumatic stress disorders, drug addiction and suicidal tendencies. And though the violence has dipped to an all-time low since 1989, generations will suffer from its after effects.

An excerpt from a 26 June 2022 ‘Times of India Crest’ report