Wani’s martyrdom-eye opener for India

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Kashmiris across the globe have observed a complete shutdown to mark the third death anniversary of popular martyred militant commander Burhan Wani. The death of 21-year-old Wani in a gun battle with Indian forces on July 8, 2016 sparked months-long popular uprisings in Kashmir. Due to the shutdown, shops and businesses remained closed in the region, as did offices and educational institutions with public transport off the roads.

The shutdown was called by Kashmir’s Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a conglomerate of the pro-Independence groups in Kashmir. The Indian government increased barricades and checkpoints across the region, restricting movement in several areas of the Kashmiri capital of Srinagar, which has served as the epicenter of resistance since his killing. Mobile internet services have been cut off in various parts of the region. All entry and exit points leading towards Tral, Wani’s hometown, had been sealed off.

While most of Kashmir’s resistance leaders have been under arrest in Indian prisons, those who are in Kashmir, like the leaders of All Parties Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar were put under house arrest ahead of the death anniversary. As one of the most popular figures in Kashmir, Wani’s death started a full scale popular uprising against Indian rule lasting over five months when at least 100 civilian protestors were killed by Indian forces, while another 10,000 were reportedly wounded and thousands incarcerated. Two policemen were also reportedly killed in the protests in 2016.

Wani’s death was also remembered in Pakistan and shutdown and struggle for self determination continued despite enhanced Indian brutalities. Conferences and seminars were held in Pakistani-administered Kashmir to pay homage to Wani and support the struggle of Kashmiri people.

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China. Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars in 1948, 1965 and 1971 two of them over Kashmir.

Such a situation is an eye opener for India to read the writing on the wall and withdraw troops from Kashmir for durable peace in the South Asia. Because, durable peace and stability in the South Asia and world is not possible without just resolution of long outstanding Kashmir issue. In this connection, India must avoid further delaying the solution of Kashmir issue to save wastage of financial and human resources.

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