It’s been over five months since the martyrdom of Burhan Wani. Indian media has left no stone unturned to romanticise and vindicate the crimes of the Mujahid but that hasn’t stopped us from glorifying and projecting him as a Herculean figure who inspired his generation against the tyrannical Indian state. 8th July marked the day when a new breed of Kashmiris hatched out from the cocoons giving rise to immense anguish.
As the news of his martyrdom went viral, roads witnessed people shouting slogans in favour of Burhan. It was no more an usual evening, it was the evening that sharpened the hopes of Azaadi and the valley was already preparing itself for yet another uprising.
He was someone I knew through social media. His killing hit right on the left part of my chest. The following bloodbath took away the peace and my beloved vale was being turned into a graveyard. Emptiness and darkness now envelopes my life. Terror overcomes me when I realise that we were robbed of a strikingly beautiful personality for whom the whole valley is crying.
To witness the torturous and sadistic affairs of an oppressed land isn’t something that is unfathomable for linguistics. I lost my budding youth who were a part of me, our resistance and my fate stricken vale. Burhan’s death invoked every part of Kashmir toward resistance and its influence wasn’t any less in Varmul. The pain is ingrained so deep that my conscience sends a reminder through my spine that justice has to be snatched no sooner than later.
The unabated cycle of protests right from day one led to the 23rd day when the news of my brother’s death came. Ishfaq Ahmed Dar was from Tarzoo, Sopore, Varmul, my very own hometown. He was just 17 years old. And what fabricated stories were made by media, though wasn’t surprising to anyone of us, as we know how media has been projecting the whole scenario. Frustration just touched new levels, giving me sleepless nights as never before, rendering me helpless and hopeless.
The blood spill consumed two more youth, both named ‘Danish’ — Danish Lone and Danish Rasool Mir. Fortunately or unfortunately, they were united in death by the quirk of fate.
Danish Lone [Mehraj-ud-din (Alias Danish)] of Nadihal, Varmul was killed on August 5, 2016. He was just 18 years old awaiting his 12th board examination. It was considered to be the bloodiest Friday in the recent uprising. Danish was out to meet his relatives and got stuck there for three days due to the unstable situation, least knowing he would never see his family and school again.
Danish Rasool Mir of Wagoora was killed after policemen fired at him in his hometown Sopore. He had left home, promised to come back a couple of days later. He did fulfill his promise as he did come but in a different avatar, on the shoulders wrapped in a coffin. Army always gave him goosebumps, his childhood was impaired with fear, terror and threat. And his nightmare came true on 31st August, 2016, when he was sent to the grave by the same brute forces.
Ishfaq Ahmed Bhat, from Badipora Tangmarg was grievously injured after being hit on head by pellets which had perforated into his skull, causing severe damage to his brain. He succumbed to the injuries on day 38. The toll rose to over 60.
Manzoor Ahmad Lone of Hardashiva, Sopore was beaten to death by army in a village in Sopore area on 14th September taking the death toll to 83. The bruised body of this 24-year-old was found in a stone quarry.
Waseem Ahmad Lone of Nadihal, Varmul was killed when forces opened fire on Friday, September 23, while he was working in his fields. The numbers grew. 88.
The torture continued with nocturnal raids, leaving people sleepless in the middle of the night. Raids were a common scene in areas in Varmul where people also performed ‘Jaagtay Raho’ sessions and the mosques would reverberate with anti-India and pro-freedom slogans till dawn to evade arrests.
15th August is India’s independence. But Kashmir marks this day as Black Day. People across Old Town celebrated the independence day on 14th August in relation to Pakistan. Rallies were taken out, pro-Pakistani slogans were raised, crackers exploded, candle marches were taken out and also rebels saluted Pakistani flags.
September 18th, I woke up to this news that 17 Indian army men in Uri have been killed. As the Indian Army claimed that the four slain militants were foreign operatives, Indian media bamboozled their audience and streaked off on a flaming warpath. All through those days, most of the TV anchors were steering talk shows whose only purpose seemed to be to launch retaliatory strikes against Pakistan.
“Payback Time”, “War, Not Peace”, “Time to Teach Pakistan a Lesson”, “Pakistan’s ‘K’ game is over” — ran some of the headlines of TV debates. Politicians sprinkled their own bit of spice. BJP leader Ram Madhav declared: “for a tooth, a complete jaw”. The whole attention was diverted. The people who were killed by the same forces wasn’t discussed because it was us, it was KASHMIR. Receiving bullets for stones. Pellets for protests. Shells for mourning. And curfews for rallies.
A humongous lot of army and police barged into the Old Town on October 17th, defying all locally-placed barriers, creating a sense of fear among the residents. Over 700 houses were searched in a span of 12 hours during which 44 persons were arrested. Chinese flags were also recovered from the site, irking and frustrating the forces.
A local newspaper places the number of total injured at 1227. 1024 have been injured by bullets and 18 by pellets. The number of PSA detentions equals to 115. This was two months back. The numbers have only increased since then.
I am still broken but the world keeps moving on. Yes, Burhan’s immortal journey into the heavens
has left everyone startled and has affected me equally. Staying indoors, being deprived of the “normal” life all through these months has fuelled anxiety and insomnia. Feelings of depression and insecurity, has led to behavioural changes. The series of distressing events has left me, and us, rattled and sad.
What occupies our cerebrum now is deep hatred towards India. I have grown more aggressive towards the illegal occupation like never before. I look “better” as I “appear” to survive but every midnight is the witness of pain I feel in every part of my body for my beloved — Kashmir.
I hardly made it through the whole write-up without crying. Even as I sit here, safe in my cozy bed, in remembrance of the martyrs, I managed to hold on despite the shaking and tears. I held on to feelings so broken, impossible to explain in words.
Kashmir will soon touch a new visible horizon that would ensure safe and sound futures for all of us. For the time being, in the quest for realising such a future, we have to provide ourselves for the cause. Our sacrificial today will result in our prosperous tomorrow. God-willing.