The commander of the Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, 22-year old Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with the Indian security forces on the 8 July 2016 (source). His body was wrapped in a Pakistani flag and thousands of people including militants—who offered him a 21-gun salute—were present at his funeral (source).
Protests erupted in the Kashmir valley in the aftermath of his death. Curfew was imposed in many places and internet services were cut. Violent clashes broke out in some areas with a few killed and several injured. Over 20 police stations were attacked by mobs who stole the weapons from the stations and fired upon the security forces. Stone pelting was also reported from many parts of the state (source). Further, vehicular traffic, train services and the pilgrimage to Amarnath temple were also temporarily suspended (source). Young Kashmiris are vocal on social media too. The anger that is simmering in the valley is all over their blogs, Facebook timelines and Twitter pages. (Source)
Why should Kashmiris not be protesting?
Burhan was a kind of a ‘poster boy’ of militancy in Kashmir. He is said to have recruited at least 100 people to the Hizbul Mujahideen and his social media campaign had an outreach among a section of the Kashmiri Muslim youth (source). He clearly was a terrorist and the job of Indian security forces is to capture terrorists. Not all can be captured alive. So what is the protest about, really?
And now the opposite point of view:
Why are Kashmiris right to protest?
Let’s think from a Kashmiri youth’s point of view. There is one soldier for every 15 or so residents in the state (source). And they have absolute power in arresting / killing / torturing anyone (special laws applicable only in J&K). Kashmiris simply don’t like them – the armed forces. Even you wouldn’t if you were born and brought up in Kashmir. Neither did Burhan. His dad was a schoolmaster and he, a school topper who also loved to play cricket (source). It was after he saw his elder brother beaten up by men in uniforms that he ran away, picked up a gun and became a jihadist. Saying “a terrorist was killed” doesn’t capture this story. And therefore amuses most Indians about the need to protest over the killing of a terrorist.
Young Kashmiris who support the view that their state should be allowed to separate from India and resent the presence of armed forces, had found in Burhan a face and name to identify with (source). The legend of Burhan Wani was built courtesy glamorous photographs and videos that he shared via his social media handles. One of the first Kashmiri militant to show his face to the world, he became an inspiration to many Kashmiri youth and urged them to join him. He was a hero to many in the state (source). And this explains why Kashmiris are dong the right thing, from their point of view.
Post by Neha Kirpal, edited by Amrit Vatsa.
We at Neutral News, abhor violence in all forms – irrespective of the reasons.