The Resurgence of the Freedom Struggle in Kashmir

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Sometimes an innocent looking person promoting a simple ideology is not dangerous when he is alive but gives birth to a revolution with his/her death. Burhan Wani was one of those innocent looking boys, completely misunderstood by the Indian forces as a simple good looking poster boy, posting his selfies and videos on social media with the guns but Indian forces found themselves in deep waters after killing that innocent looking boy. They as always, completely ignored the ideology promoted by him after his brother was beaten up by Indian forces “for no reason”, the ideology behind his poster boy image, the ideology of resistance against the cruelty of Indian forces, the ideology of freedom from oppression.

His last video message was on the topics of Indian injustice and the need for young people to stand up to oppression which was seriously taken by the people of Kashmir especially the youth of Kashmir who he had addressed in that video. On his funeral day, it was proved that his message reached the youth of Kashmir and was properly conceived by the youth of Kashmir because his funeral was attended by thousands of young Kashmiris, and despite restrictions, the funeral venue was so crowded that there was no space to properly offer the funeral prayers. Nimaz-i-Janaza was offered more than a dozen times to accommodate people from surrounding and far-off villages and in coming days the agitation in the Kashmir after the killing of Burhan reached to another level. Burhan Wani gave a new life to the freedom struggle of Kashmiris. He has altered the discourse of freedom struggle in Kashmir.

Burhan Wani first picked up a weapon to strengthen the freedom struggle of Kashmiris at the time when Kashmiris have almost abandoned the armed freedom struggle and they were trying to find some political solutions for the freedom of Kashmir. There were only a few freedom fighters in the valley, around a dozen of them were from South Kashmir and only three of them were from Burhan’s area.  One of these three was his father’s cousin Aamir Bhatt.

Burhan joined the freedom fighters in 2010 and according to the J&K police he had not fired a single bullet as a freedom fighter but still, the armed struggle of Kashmiris entered into the new era. In his six years as a freedom fighter, more than 100 young Kashmiris joined Burhan in his Armed Struggle but after his martyrdom, in just one year the number of freedom fighters had reached to 300 freedom fighters in the valley and it’s growing every day with the atrocities of Indian Army and killings of Innocent Kashmiris.

If Burhan has never fired a single bullet, he never took part in any action as the J&K police said and there is no story to contradict the J&K police’s statement that tells us that he was never involved in any fight with Indian armed forces or have killed an Indian security personnel as a commander of Hizb ul-Mujahideen then what was the reason that he managed to give new life to the armed struggle for freedom of Kashmir which was almost at the verge of ending?

As a representative of Kashmiri youth, he used social media as a tool for his struggle for freedom. In past, none of the Kashmiri fighters ever did this because they always tried to remain anonymous behind the face masks or cover their face with a piece of cloth. Burhan Wani changed this trend and gave the courage to the armed fighters to fight their war with their own identity, not with an alias. He posted the videos both of himself and his colleagues, on Facebook which went viral in the valley. Burhan Wani redefined the armed freedom struggle in Kashmir and brought back its indigenous color.

After the martyrdom of Burhan Wani on 8th July 2016 around 656 Kashmiris have been killed, 2718 structures set on fire or Destroyed, 880 women have been gang-raped or molested, 19,230 Kashmiris has been arrested and around 24,122 Kashmiris has been injured. Among the injured, 8424 are the Kashmiris injured by pallets, 128 of them has completely lost their sight and 207 have lost one eye-sight.

In Pakistan, the TTP militants have destroyed the schools, shrines and buildings but in Kashmir, the government employee of armed forces have damaged 65,880 houses/shops/structures and burned 53 schools just in 2 years.

After these two years of his death, streets in the Valley are still rallying to the call to arms. Protests, for the first time, comprised college students including girls, forcing the government to frequently close down schools to maintain peace. Besides, a troubling absence of fear of the local police, most of the time the responsibility of handling the protest led by youth has been handed over to Indian Army.

Curfews are being deliberately violated and encounter sites are attacked with little more than a stone in hand. At many places, the young Kashmiri protesters block armored vehicles and dare the personnel to open fire.

These protests and rallies after the Indian atrocities on Kashmir and violating their basic human rights have been widely covered by International media which has avoided the issue of Kashmir for a long time. Channels like BBC, Al-Jazeera have published exclusive articles and broadcasted documentaries on their respective channels which once again opens the doors of UN for Kashmiri people. Recently United Nations Human Rights organization has issued a detailed report on the Human Rights violation by India. The 49-page report, the first ever issued by the UN on the human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir details human rights violations, abuses and highlights a situation of chronic impunity for violations committed by Indian security forces.

The main focus of this report was the human rights situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir from July 2016 – when large and unprecedented demonstrations erupted after Indian security forces killed Burhan Wani till April 2018.

In this way, Burhan Wani martyrdom not only led to the resurgence of the armed freedom struggle in Kashmir but paved a path to gain the attention of international organizations like the United Nations and United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). It’s about time that the UN should take concrete measures for the final resolution of Kashmir issue and work seriously for giving the people of Kashmir their right to determine their own future.

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Atiq is an IT professional, his area of interest are Socio-Politico issues of subcontinent and regional security issues with a special focus on Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Can be reached at [email protected] and tweets at @atiqpkkh.

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