Burhan Wani: A Symbol of the Kashmiri Independence Movement

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If India thought that by martyring Burhan Wani it would erase the name of the young commander from the hearts and minds of Kashmiris, then New Delhi has undoubtedly failed. Six years after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani, the way in which he has remained a source of excitement for the freedom fighters of the Kashmir Independence Movement is remarkable. BJP policy makers are well aware that their desire to occupy the occupied valley has not been fulfilled since the Partition of India. The fact is that the Kashmir Independence Movement, which has been going on for decades, has come a long way. The Kashmir Independence Movement continues to emerge in the form of armed struggle and has also warmed the hearts of the Kashmiri youth as a political struggle. Independent observers of the Kashmir Independence Movement acknowledge that the Kashmiris’ struggle is purely local and does not rely on external interference in any way.
For the independence movement of Kashmir, 8 July 2016 is a significant date. It was on this day that the occupying army of India martyred Burhan Wani, who was fighting for the right to self-determination, along with his companions. Burhan Wani’s martyrdom in occupied Kashmir was done because of how the young commander was the heartbeat of the people of Kashmir. Burhan Wani’s funeral was attended by thousands, if not millions of Kashmiris.
The case of Burhan Wani is so significant because he was the fourth generation of Kashmiris in the independence movement who was not only educated but also capable of effectively spreading his message across the world through thsocial media. Burhan Wani emerged as the leader of the Kashmiri youth who proved to be fearless, and who valued the Kashmir independence movement more than their own lives. Their sacrifice and efforts will surely be remembered forever in history.
The youth of educated and affluent families who joined the independence movement also dispelled the impression that they were taking up arms against India because of some economic compulsion. Of course, the question can be raised as to why the international community, including the United Nations, is not willing to support the Kashmiris, despite the decades-long rule of oppression and barbarism in occupied Kashmir. The truth is that politics does not have a heart. The economic interests of the regional and world powers are tied to India. Hence, they are not ready to object to a hard line Hindu fundamentalist party like the BJP. One of the tricks of Chanakya politics is that after the 9/11 incident, New Delhi launched a systematic campaign to declare the Kashmir Independence Movement as terrorism. It was not that the world powers were unaware of the ongoing atrocities in the Occupied Territories but the fact that they would deliberately accept India’s position on Kashmir due to India’s economic relations with the world powers. One unfortunate aspect of the matter is that the world powers are not interested in giving Kashmiris the right to self-determination. The Muslim countries are also not ready to help their Kashmiri brothers. The question now is where does the ongoing struggle in occupied Kashmir stand today?
The BJP government’s removal of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution on August 5, 2019 has weakened India’s position on Kashmir. Thus, we can say that on the one hand the incidents of armed struggle in Kashmir have decreased and on the other hand the violation of constitution and law by India has increased. A positive development with regard to Pakistan is that India has stopped making statements about cross-border intervention. Some quarters call this development a deliberate policy of India. A few days ago, a conference on Kashmir was held in Berlin on Zoom in which the fact, that India’s attitude towards resolving the Kashmir issue is based on bigotry, was made clear.
Some informed circles believe that the said position on India is getting stronger as Pakistan’s diplomacy has improved. There is no doubt that the PML-N coalition government is in favor of a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue in which the consent of the Kashmiris is of paramount importance. Leading political parties such as the PML-N and the Pakistan People’s Party believe that a solution to the Kashmir issue is necessary if poverty, unemployment and backwardness are to be eradicated from the region. It is no secret that all the parties in the PDM are in favor of a political solution to Kashmir. Whenever the PPP or the PML-N has gained power, they invited India to discuss the dispute numerous times.
It is believed that the key reason for Pakistan’s stance of the Kashmir issue being heard in Western diplomatic circles is the effective and dynamic diplomacy of the present government. The manner in which Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari recently visited other important countries, including the United States, and presented Pakistan’s position is also considered commendable. The time has come for India to acknowledge the fact that friends canbe exchanged but not neighbors, and the fact is that the Kashmir dispute between the two nuclear powers today is more dangerous than it was in the past, with an alarming urgency that must be dealt with as soon as possible. Modi and his like-minded allies should understand that if they continue to useunrestricted brutality in occupied Kashmir, the re-emergence of young commander like Burhan Wani is not out of the question.
Indian policy makers should also get rid of the misconception that the Kashmir independence movement has cooled down. In fact, this spark has not been extinguished in the past and is not expected to be extinguished in the future. This all is because of the blood of martyrs like Burhan Wani who are constantly burning this candle of freedom.