It is said that time keeps on changing but in the valley of Kashmir, time seems paralyzed as nothing changes there with the passage of time. The same pains and troubles, the same agony and distress the people of Kashmir have been suffering from for the last many decades. Just cast a look at all those years from the past to the present, you would find countless mothers waiting for their disappeared sons; daughters waiting for their fathers whose names are still in the long lists of missing persons. Certainly, if the police stations are asked about them, they would say, “The disappeared and the missing ones were all terrorists. They were militants; we too are searching for them.” But the matter of the fact is that they are neither the disappeared ones nor the missing ones, they are simply the murdered ones. If someday the international peace-keepers start excavating the valleys of the Indian Occupied Kashmir, they would find thousands of unmarked graves and unidentified dead bodies hidden under the rotten leaves and in the depths of stagnant water ponds.
The least important for the Indian soldiers deputed there in the Indian Occupied Kashmir are the lives of the Kashmiri people and honour and chastity of the Kashmiri women. In short, it is their hobby to play with these two. The people of Kashmir are so helpless that they have no power and force to save themselves from these atrocities. All they could do is to gather at some place and raise slogans in protest against the cruelties of the Indian forces. This situation of helplessness is no doubt very painful and agonizing for the Kashmiri youth. Some of them come forward and add aggression to this protest movement. Burhan Wani was also one of such youngsters who could not bear this sight of helplessness of their people. The Indian forces labeled him as a terrorist though he was simply a social media activist.
The Indian government blamed that Wani was a Commander of Hizbul Mujahidin, a Kashmiri militant group. On the basis of this baseless blame, this 22-year-old boy was killed in a fake encounter with the Indian security forces on 8 July 2016. The people of Kashmir worship and praise him like a hero because he fought for them with his words. His anniversary of the martyrdom is observed every year not in Jammu Kashmir but also in every part of the world where lives even a single Kashmiri. It is something remarkably notable that every year the zeal and zest expressed on his anniversary of the martyrdom keeps on increasing. From July 2017 to July 2019, one can feel a very visible increase in the number of those who participate in his anniversary of the martyrdom processions and protest.
On the first anniversary of the martyrdom of Burhan Wani in 2017, thousands of police and paramilitary troopers were on a high alert with the authorities banning mobile internet while curfew-like restrictions were imposed in most parts of Kashmir. Huge crowds of men, women and children were seen thronging the residence of Burhan Wani in south Kashmir’s Tral town to offer condolences with his family amid heightened security presence as the four districts of south Kashmir were into a garrison to prevent any protests.
On the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Burhan Wani in July 2018, the protest expanded to the United Kingdom where it is a part of old traditions to stand with all the crushed ones. On that occasion, the government of the UK provided full support and liberty to the Kashmiri people living in Birmingham and other areas to commemorate his martyrdom. So a huge rally was organized in Birmingham with the permission of the local city council. India, through its foreign office in UK tried to do all possible for stopping that rally but could not succeed. In the Indian Held Kashmir, the situation remained the same as it was in 2017; same internet blocking, same hurdles on the roads and same body-search at every corner.
Even this year 2019, the situation remained the same in Indian Held Kashmir on the eve of the third anniversary of the martyrdom of Burhan Wani. Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir imposed restrictions and slowed down Internet speeds in parts of the Kashmir Valley as the friends of Wani had called for a shutdown. Every street and every corner was cordoned off, people had to pass through a very insulting process of body search at every step and ladies were harassed and humiliated by the Indian soldiers. But all these hurdles could not stop the people of Kashmir from raising their voices against the brutality done to Burhan Wani. The young Wani has now become an immortal character who would remain an icon of courage, bravery and determination for the coming generations, not only in Kashmir but all over the world. Indian authorities are misguided by their own designed notion that protesting voices could be crushed by the use of force. Their stubbornness has simply made Burhan Wani an ideal for all freedom fighters all over the world.