July 8, 2020
By M.T Naqvi
It has been four years since Burhan Wani, a Kashmiri youth who was forced to start an armed struggle for freedom was gunned down by Indian military forces on July 8, 2016.
Born on September 14, 1994, Burhan Wani grew up a politically conscious and learned boy when he was just a student. Looking at the shrinking spaces in Kashmir he was forced to take up arms at the age of 15 and then he started getting popular among the youth after he started getting more visible on social media.
A historian from Kashmir, Saleem Gardezi believes that Wani was able to take freedom struggle to new heights by introducing the latest tools of information technology which radicalized a great number of young men and women to raise their voices of resistance in the valley.
Wani, a resident of Tral and commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, was gunned along with his two comrades by the Indian troops in a 2-hours long operation in the Kokernag area of Kashmir.
His killing led to many other young men including Ph.D. scholars to take up arms against the Indian occupation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Talking to voicepk.net, a student of Azad Jammu Kashmir University (AJKU), Sheikh Umar Nazir said “If the Kashmiri youth see the armed struggle as the only option left to attain freedom today, it is sole because of the Indian aggression which has been trying to silence the street power”
Another AJKU student, Sardar Mehtab says the world needs to realize that the Kashmiri youth can now go to any extent at whatever cost for their liberation.
Wani’s fake encounter also triggered a sustained wave of violent protests across Jammu and Kashmir claiming the lives of at least 100 civilians as the Indian forces were consistently trying to silence them through force and weapons.
The chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Pasban-e-Hurriyat says “the occupying Indian military abducted a lot of civilians from their houses in the name of the crackdown, either the young men were tortured to death or disabled permanently in the secret torture cells”.
According to Usman, a refugee from the occupied Jammu and Kashmir, more than 50 Kashmiri women were raped by the Indian forces in the area of Kunan and Poshpora.
“The world is silent on how the Indian state is trying to forcefully migrate Hindi citizens from India to settle in Kashmir while pushing out the actual population but what are the Kashmiris going to do when their women are raped right in front of them?” he questioned.
In the last 4 years, 29,000 people have been injured, 1231 have been killed out of which at least 83 were tortured to death in cells, 4,000 houses and shops were burned to destroy, 223 children lost their fathers, more than 100 women were widowed while 11,000 were attacked with pellet guns out which 385 lost their eyesight permanently and more than 1000 women were raped according to Kashmir Media Service.