(The killing of technocrat turned militant from Tral, Burhan Muzaffar Wani has generated a Tsunami which may ultimately engulf the entire sub-continent)
Right now entire Kashmir is virtually burning. According to reports, over a dozen and a half youth have been shot dead and there are hundreds of persons with bullet injuries in different hospitals all over Kashmir. The Divisional Commissioner has declared that the curfew in entire valley will continue for the time being. In spite of curfew and deployment of additional forces, the situation does not seem to be cooling down. The young Burhan represented a phenomenon which by his killing instead of dying down, maygrowgeometrically. The phenomenon is defiance of an oppressive and humiliating authority.
Kashmiris have been oppressed, degraded, humiliated by outside oppressors for centuries. There have been many uprisings in the past but these were harshly put down. Most of the time, Kashmiris have been following the maxim, “Join them, if you can’t beat them”! They have preferred to remain quiet for their very survival. However, in the history of every nation there comes a time when its young men prefer death to humiliation. Burhan is the latest example of that phenomenon. After having his family humiliated and oppressed umpteen times and losing a brother and many relatives to alleged security forces excesses, he decided to take the revenge. The result was the new wave of militancy led by him. He became a symbol and an inspiration to the youth for standing up to oppression instead of living as a humiliated human being. This inspiration appears to be highly infectious and is spreading fast among the new generation.
It has been admitted by top security officials that the local militants these days disproportionately outnumber the foreign militants. The militancy is fast becoming a local phenomenon. Even in the present turmoil a number of police stations have been attacked and arms looted in some cases. It is also reported that some constables have run away with their weapons. In spite of a total blackout of internet and other communication services, the news is going all over the world. The so called popular leaders have become irrelevant in the present turmoil led by the new generation of Kashmiris born and brought up in the conflict of last two decades. The most difficult movement to suppress is the one led by an inspiration and ideology especially that of a martyr! It needs no leaders but followers only.
In the past, the spark in Kashmir has always ignited fires all over the sub-continent. It is a very precarious and volatile situation. The saner elements not only in India but in the entire sub-continent need to stand up and take immediate steps to douse the flames by recognizing the existence of the oppression being inflicted on the new generation of Kashmiris. Free expression and dialogue is the only way to arrest the Tsunami. In the alternative, it may ultimately engulf not only the sub-continent but the entire South Asia.
Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir),