After Burhan Wani, a 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen fighter was killed in an encounter with the Indian forces, Kashmir plunged into mourning and rose to respond with a relentless show of resistance. A massive crowd joined Burhan’s funeral at Tral, his home district. Every city, town and village in Kashmir came together for in-absentia funeral prayers. Masjid pulpits rang with freedom songs and Azadi slogans. It has been more than two weeks, but the mourners continue demonstrations; they have bled and died willingly at the hands of Indian forces. The people of Kashmir are once again reminding the world of their intense desire for independence. The 2016 summer uprising is reminiscent of years past — 1931, 1965, 1989, 2008 and 2010 — when Kashmir made its intentions clearer than usual.
The Indian regime, as it often does, has responded with disproportionate use of force, the price of which have been 47 Kashmiri lives and counting, 100-plus blind due to pellet guns, more than 1600 wounded. Curfew is on; there’s a clampdown on media, mobile and internet. The Indian troops have fired bullets and pellets on protestors who are only armed with stones. They, along with the intensely militarized Kashmir police, have barged into communities and hospitals firing and lobbing chilli gas at unarmed men, women and children. The demonstrators, at their end, have also struck police stations and other symbols of Indian presence on Kashmiri soil.