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A Fighter to Remember – Burhan Wani

By Adeel Mukhtar Mirza

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Adeel Mukhtar Mirza

“When Bhagat Singh was fighting against the British, they called him a terrorist. When the problem of Kashmir will be solved, India will realise Wani was a freedom fighter,” said Muzaffar Wani, father of Burhan Wani, in an interview. For Kashmiris, Burhan Wani was like what Nelson Mandela was for South Africans; Bhagat Singh for British controlled Indians; and martyrs of the independence struggle for Pakistanis – Freedom Fighter.

Burhan Wani has been given numerous names, including pride of Kashmir, harbinger of new age in Kashmiri’s freedom struggle, Robinhood of Kashmir, and a person who lived his life for a cause. According to his father, “Indian Army has thrashed everybody here … In any case, everybody does not turn into an activist or freedom fighter. It relies upon the amount one can take. Somebody’s ‘Ghairat’ (self-respect) gets tested consistently, so he chooses to reply. Others choose to remain calm. My child could not stand to see the abominations and the mortification, so he picked this path. Burhan’s fight is not only for himself but for the whole Kashmir and for the sufferings of people of Indian occupied Kashmir.”

Born on September 19, 1994, Burhan Wani belonged to Pulwama’s Dadsara village of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJK). He was one of the most talented, ahead of his peers and an educated freedom fighter of the Kashmiris’ struggle, who resisted heinous oppressions and brutalities of Indian occupation forces in Kashmir. Unlike his predecessors, Wani used social media – Facebook and WhatsApp – to spread his message of demanding independence from Indian forced rule. He did not shy away from uncovering his face and, soon, became the poster boy of Kashmiris freedom struggle, making him a household name in IOJK.

Mr. Wani was also a staunch proponent of basic human rights. He never attacked Hindus, living in Kashmir and clearly stated that he is not against Hindus but Indian occupation forces, who are responsible for countless human rights violation in IOJK. His commitment to the basic human values was also evident from his reaching out to Hindu pilgrims for the assurance of peaceful Amarnath Yatra. In a video message, he clearly stated that “A BSF officer had recently said that militants have planned to attack the Amarnath yatra. His statement is absolutely untrue and false. Let me assure you (pilgrims) that we have no plans to attack Amarnath yatra. They (Hindu pilgrims) are coming here to fulfill their religious duties and we have nothing to do with it.”

Martyred on July 8, 2016, by Indian occupation forces in IOJK, the incident ignited rage in the youth of Kashmir. Pro-Pakistan slogans were heard. People came out along the Srinagar-Anantnag highway in protest. Slogans were chanted in favour of Mr. Wani. Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Geelani and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Yasin Malik called for a strike to protest and bandh, a general strike, Burhan’s martyrdom wherein people participated in large numbers. As a result, curfew was imposed by Indian occupation forces. As per media reports, “an estimated 200,000 people attended Burhan’s funeral prayers in Tral. Thousands of Kashmiris attended the funeral of Burhan Wani who chanted anti-India slogans. Pakistani flags were waved throughout the funeral procession. Freedom fighters were also presented at the funeral of Burhan Wani who offered him a 21-gun salute. His body was wrapped in Pakistani flag and was buried next to that of his brother Khalid Wani in Tral.”

On 10th July, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Nawaz Sharif condemned continuous Indian brutalities in IOJK and demanded the fulfillment of Indian obligations and commitments under United Nations Security Council (UNSC)’s Resolution – a plebiscite: a Kashmiri led and Kashmiri owned decision. On 11th July, the then Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Mr. Ban Ki-moon reiterated that India should work towards the resolution of lingering Jammu & Kashmir dispute through dialogue and; in this regard, he offered his good offices to mediate peace talks between India and Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan has taken the fight, which Mr. Wani reignited, to another level by internationalizing the issue and uncovering true Indian face in front of international community.

Unfortunately, the same discourse has been written, rewritten and published in various media forums since many previous years. It seems like the international community has forgotten their duty to work for human rights. India, on the contrary, is utilizing every opportunity to repress Kashmiris demands; sometimes by forces and other times through the abrogation of its Constitution as well as diaspora change.

More recently, the martyrdom of Riaz Naikoo, Hizul Mujahideen Chief, has become Kashmiris fuel for hate and freedom struggle against India. With recognizing Kashmiris struggle, it is high time that International Community take strict actions against India and should be held accountable for its illegal actions in the Valley. Kashmir is on tipping point and the world might soon observe the entire South Asian region engulfed in the conflict.

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