By Zafar Sultan.
On July 8, when Eid festivities were still alive around the Muslim world, the Bundoora village of Kokerang, Kashmir, witnessed yet another youth, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, falling to liberate his motherland from the Indian occupation. Burhan was amongst thousands of those who chose not to bow down before brutal Indian forces. The slaying of Burhan sparked protests across Kashmir.
The following day, the world saw a sea of mourners at Tral at funeral of young lad. With welled up eyes, the participants raised their hands to wave final farewell to youthful, wrapped in green Pakistani flag to his eternal abode: young grave. The entire Eidgah ground echoed with pro freedom slogans.
In the wake of protest, the Indian forces butchered more than thirty Kashmiris and death toll is feared to rise, for hundreds have been wounded and the protest has not ceased .The fact that these protests coincide with The Martyr Day of Kashmir, would likely complicate and compound the situation further. Yet again the vale of Kashmir is coffined in rage, gloom and doom.
Does the murder of Wani have ushered a new era in Kashmiris struggle for freedom? Would Wani’s grave sprout more life to struggle? The answers seem to be in affirmative.
Born to Muzaffar Wani, a mathematics teacher, Burhan opted to take up the route to resistance at unripended age of 15, apparently angered by murder of his elder brother Khalid Wani by Indian army in 2015. This act of Wani added an indignant character to armed struggle after he mass protests in Kashmir in the summers of 2008 and 2010. The willowy Wani, trained indigenantly, would quite invariably appear on social media ,wowing to continue armed struggle. Clad in fighters’ outfits, Burhan would appeal the indigenant Kashmiris, especially youth to stand up against Indian army.
According to Indian press, Burhan’s videos had a significant appeal; numerous youngsters said yes to his call. The anger of these technical savvy youth, mostly in their twenty’s, is a newer dimension of armed struggle. In the recent past, and the current spade of protests, most of the killings by Indian security forces have included the youth. Are these coercive youth killings an attempt by Indian army to mow down the Kashmiri youth or deter the people to follow the suit of resistance? The latter notion appears to prevail.
However, the strength and slogans at formidable funeral of Burhan appear to have thwarted the Indian plan. Seemingly, the sacrifice of Wani has further fired the struggle of Kashmiris. In this age, the globalised world is also witnessing the Kashmiris, by and large, with apathy (though), struggling and suffering for seven decades. Would the killingspree of young boys and girls stir the conscience of world to speak and stand against the Indian government to stop stalking the humans?
At this critical point, the role of Pakistan also requires focus. While the foreign office has spoken quite vocally against the extra judicial killings of Wani and other protesters in valley, the Kashmiris are looking for more robust role from Pakistan, especially at OIC and the UN to bring the human rights violation before world community. Can these pictures and protests from valley be relayed to the Saudis also, who conferred their highest civil award to Indian Premier Narendra Modi, in April?
As aforesaid, the spring of 2008, 2009 and 2010, huge protests were launched by Kashmiris to seek the worlds’ conscience to their cause. That was a different dimension to struggle to freedom. Islamabad could have taken the issue at world fora, to draw attention to peaceful protests and demonstrations of Kashmiris. But, unfortunately, the government of Pakistan showed rather ignominious in difference; and the people of Kashmir felt forsaken yet another time.
It is hard to deny that the struggle and sacrifice of Wani would rekindle the struggle to Kashmir, for more youth would be drawn to resistance. Keeping in view the track record of Indians, more cruelties would be unleashed at the people of Kashmir. It is high time that world and Pakistan played their proactive role to lessen the agonies of people of Kashmir and support them get their birth right: freedom.
The writer is an academic and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org