Burhan Wani, the popular Commander of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen was martyred by the Indian government forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) on July 8, 2016. After the martyrdom of Burhan Wani, widespread and spontaneous protests erupted throughout the IOK. In order to control the mass movement, the Indian occupation forces unleashed reign of terror against the Kashmiri civilians. As a result more than 300 people embraced martyrdom and around 30,000 got injured.
The uprising in the Indian Held Kashmir did not end within a few weeks or months. It continued, and still continues, as Wani’s blood gave new strength to the Kashmir’s struggle for independence.
Wani, in his early 20s, had become the face of the struggle in Kashmir and over the last five years was using social media like Facebook to reach out to young Kashmiri men to continue their movement for the independence of Kashmir. He became voice of the Kashmiri youth and his popularity irritated New Delhi.
When Indian fanatic Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the ruling party BJP, came to power, he accelerated anti-Kashmir moves. Since August 5, 2019 Modi’s government ended special status of the Jummu and Kashmir to turn Muslim majority into minority in the Indian Controlled Kashmir Kashmir. Implementing the August 5 announcement, Indian central government issued a notorious map on October 31, 2019. In accordance with it, Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories—Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Besides, Modi-led government’s malevolent acts such as more than nine month’s lockdown in the IOK, martyrdom of thousands of the Kashmiris there, introduction of new domicile law against the majority of Kashmiris, issuance of domicile certificates to 25000 non-Kashmiris, persecution of religious minorities especially Muslims, anti-Muslim laws-CAA/NRC, assaults on Muslims by the fanatic Hindus, blaming Indian Muslims and Pakistan for spreading coronavirus in India and the IOK etc. and intermittent shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir in relation to the Line of Control (LoC)-which has killed hundreds of innocent villagers, indicate ‘Modi’s fascist India’. Thus, New Delhi completely ended any sort of dialogue with Islamabad to settle the Kashmir issue.
Despite the deployment of 900,000 troops in the IOK and intensification of firing by the Indian forces in wake of shortage of foods and even medicines for the patients, innocent Kashmiris are still violating the lockdown by protesting against Indian illegal actions. In order to conceal India’s state terrorism, Indian Controlled Kashmir has been cut off from the world due to lockdown. But, some reports and images are appearing in the world and the social media, which show extrajudicial killings of the innocent people by the ruthless Indian forces.
Dreadful practice of Indian state terrorism could be judged from the martyrdom of a 65 years old person Bashir Ahmed Khan on July 1, this year in front of his grandson by Indian troops in Sopore, Srinagar,
Local Kashmiris and family of the martyred said that the unarmed “Khan was dragged out of his car and shot dead by paramilitary troopers”. His three-year-old toddler grandson, who was travelling with him, was later pictured sitting on his chest.
The awful photo of the child, which appeared in the social media, shocked the international community.
Reacting to the incident, Amnesty India said, “It is a breach of the best interests of the child principle as required to be the basis of any action by authorities under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which India is a state party.”
A day after the horrifying event which triggered massive outrage and protests in Indian Kashmir, the UNO said that “whosoever responsible for the killing in Sopore, has to be made to account for it.”
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated that the image of the three-year-old sitting on his grandfather’s “lifeless, bullet-ridden body exposed the real face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fascist India”.
Nevertheless, this merciless event displays that India does not have any qualms about murdering any Kashmiri civilian as part of extrajudicial killings. And many civilian Kashmiris have become permanently blind due to pellet guns shots and chemical weapons, used by the Indian military and paramilitary troops. Curfew-type shutdown remained in the IOK. Almost 14,000 people were arrested or detained.
During special operations-house to house search, India military and paramilitary troopers have martyred and injured tens of thousands the Kashmiris, including women and children. These cruelties have compelled the Kashmiri youngsters to pick arms and to target the Indian forces, sacrificing their lives for the right of self-determination, as recognized by the related UNO resolutions. Therefore, intermittent gunbattle between the freedom fighters and Indian military continues in various regions of the IOK.
However, Burhan Wani was a great voice for freedom of the Indian Held Kashmir. Hence, every year his death anniversary is being celebrated on July 8, 2017 by Pakistanis and Kashmiris to pay homage to him. On this very day, strikes, protests and demonstrations across the IOK and Pakistan take place to show solidarity with the Kashmiri freedom fighters who are demanding their legitimate right of self-determination, as recognized by the related UN resolutions.
Since 1989, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army and paramilitary forces against Muslim Kashmiris. It has been manifested in brutal tactics like crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounters.
In fact, Indian forces have employed various draconian and controversial laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA) etc. in killing the Kashmiri people, and arbitrarily arrest of any individual for an indefinite period.
Besides Human Rights Watch, in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir, indicating, “The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected persons.”
It is mentionable that under the cover of draconian laws, most of the times, majority of the popular pro-movement leadership is detained or house-arrested by the Indian security forces, and mostly, without prior orders from the higher authorities. As per a Kashmiri human rights group, Voice of Victim (VOV), a total of 1 471 torture centers are operating in the Indian Controlled Kashmir where arrested Kashmiri leaders and the youth are subjected to severe torture.
Undoubtedly, martyrdom of Burhan Wani by the Indian brutal security forces has given a new strength to the Kashmir’s struggle for independence, as it has been intensified, bringing the Indian atrocities in the occupied Kashmir in the limelight of the international community and their media.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations