The response from all sides has been found lacking
Burhan Wani described as a media savvy Robin Hood of the valley, by the Indian Kashmiri writer Imran Khan, was a reflection of the aspirations of the people of Kashmir – particularly the youth. With his brutal murder a bit of every person in Kashmir died. His funeral at his home town of Tral (30 km from Srinagar) the day after Eid, was attended by an estimated 200,000 well-wishers and supporters, they came from all over (even Indian newspapers put the figure at over one lac), with funeral prayers held several times to accommodate new comers – people from outside towns who had come to pay homage to their martyr were sleeping on the street and some using rocks for pillows.
Following his death over 60 protestors have been killed by Indian troops and over 3,500 injured with more than two hundred blinded by pellets. At his funeral the old war cry of Kashmir was raised once again “Burhan tere khoon sai inqalab aye ga” Burhan your blood will bring forth a revolution in Kashmir, the irony that the twenty one year old was killed extra judicially rather than being shot in the leg and captured on Eid day while trying to visit his parents was not lost on this spontaneous crowd either.
His story has been recounted by many perhaps none better than Basharat Peer the celebrated author of Curfewed Night, in an article in the New York Times and I quote “Burhan came of age with this inheritance of rage and, he loss in 2010 – that summer alone Indian troops killed more than 110 Kashmiri protestors” a topper in the school where his father was the head master, he turned rebel when he and his brother Khalid were humiliated by the Indian troops in Burhan’s own father Muzaffar Ahmed Wani words at his funeral “yeh aap ki gharat pe depend karta hai (key app kitny zilaat bardasht kar saktai hain)” It is the threshold of your honor as to how much humiliation you can withstand. “My elder son Khalid had already gone to Allah (Last year Khalid had been killed by Indian troops) now Burhan has joined him Ina lilallah wa ina illaihi raajoon”. We belong to God and Onto Him we shall return.
It is well known that the Indian state and army brutally suppress the Muslim Kashmiris, by the time the last wave of protests in the late 2000s had been suppressed over 70,000 protestors and troops had been killed, and thousands disappeared. Kashmiri film maker Iffat Fatima’s documentary “On a Trail of Vanished Blood” on missing Kashmiri youth is well worth watching for the uninitiated on Indian troop brutality in the valley.
In the Middle East over the last ten years have met maybe over fifty Indian Kashmiri Muslims, all of them without exception want Kashmir to be an independent state and eventually they shall succeed. This too is reflected in the composition of the armed young rebels in the valley today with an overwhelming majority of them drawn from the valley itself and not sent across from Pakistan unlike what the Indian propaganda machine would like us to believe. In the words of the peerless Bashart Peer again, “the Indian official and thought leaders fall back on the tired rituals of denial (all this is being instigated by Pakistan) and obfuscation ignoring the main message from the people of the valley GO INDIA GO BACK”.
This obfuscation, nay hypocrisy, was accurately captured on television in the faces of Kashmir’s Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and opposition leader Omar Farooq Abdullah as they subserviently called upon the Indian Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh – who had deemed it fit to fly into Srinagar for a couple of days to emphasis the importance of maintaining the rule of law in Kashmir. They probably neither told him how difficult it is for a Kashmiri Muslim to get an Indian passport nor about the travails of everyday life in the valley.
That India media in this matter is biased is an understatement, with an Indian TV anchor calling for anyone with a modicum of objectivity an apologist for Pakistan who should be named and shamed. Ignoring that 70,000 persons have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured or are missing. That the wound has been festering without a political solution for over seventy years with increasing bitterness and intransigence that has ended up as a human tragedy, while the Indian media looks the other way.
But even in Pakistan our official response has been at best defensive, instead of galvanising world opinion we only condemned the Indian government (without naming Mr Modi) without recalling our ambassador as a gesture of solidarity and to shame the Indian government for their atrocities. All this despite a call by none other than Mehbooba Mufti that India must involve Pakistan in talks on Kashmir, acknowledging that today Pakistan is more than just an observer in Indian held Kashmir.
With the current Modi government there should be no illusions about any negotiated settlement on Kashmir, as friends who recently participated in the dog and pony show under the ruse of track two diplomacy tell me, Indians are in no mood to compromise on anything and a military solution appears to be the only option left on the table. We have no choice but to support in any way we can the indigenous resistance to Indian occupation of Kashmir and the right of its citizens to fight for their freedom.
Sleep well dear Burhan for when my grandchildren will read the history on how Kashmiris won their freedom, as they surely they will, your name will be there written in Golden Letters.
How much coverage has the death of 80 Shias in Afghanistan got. I guess their lives are like water.
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