The new breed of Kashmir

Skipping for the time being the mention and detail of the doleful Pulwama where the Indian army, who has rampantly embarked upon a relentless shooting spree, has indiscriminately killed scores of guiltless Kashmiris, let us confabulate about a relatively calm region which has, in 1990’s, been a bastion of pro-India militants like Muhammad Yousaf alias Kuka Parray.

Bandipora’s district Hajin, a beautiful mountainous terrain of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK), was deemed famous for offering a fusion of knowledge, literature and water. Water – because it is located on the banks of Wular, the second largest fresh water lake in Asia. But now it is known because of two names – Mudassar Ahmad Parray and Saqib Bilal. Both are on more, now. They were killed in an 18-hour gunfight in Srinagar’s Mujgund area on the 10th of this December.

Both were pals and would play football at Eidgah in Hajin. The residents used to rejoice while watching them playing. On 31st of August, they left their home to play but never came back.

Young people keep falling down in this beauteous dale of Kashmir every other day. The fact as to why this duo is important should unman those ensconced comfortably within robust walls at New Delhi.

Mudassar Ahmad Parray, just 14, is the youngest ever in the history of turbulent Kashmir who joined the ranks of Kashmiri fighters to avenge upon the Indian army’s brutalities which the youth routinely behold around.

The fellows around him say that two events might have instigated him to develop inclination for the gun. In 2016, he spent a week in police custody for having pelted stones on Indian forces. Second incident was the killing of 19-years-old Abid Hamid Mir in an encounter in Sopore’s Amargar, 25km away from Hajin. Mir was a close relative of Mudassar.

Saqib Bilal is the second character who gave a tough fight to the Indian forces and was subsequently killed along with Mudassar. He is important as he played a cameo role in Vishal Bhardwaj’s film Haider, a Bollywood movie based on Kashmir. Bearing propensity for acting, he also went to Kerala three years ago and won a theatre competition there.

India, after all, will have to contemplate the gravity of the issue when children as young as 4 years engage in stone-pelting and the citizens as tender of an age as 14 are forced to pick up guns and ammunition so as to fight the Indian forces, knowing clearly what end they may meet in the time to come. The feelings of animosity in hearts run so deep that parents are not disgruntled even a tad over the killings of their sons.

“Thanks to Almighty Allah that my son succeeded in the goal he had set to achieve. I pray that his martyrdom is accepted,” said Rasheed Parray, the father of Mudassar Ahmad Parray.

And then Saqib Bilal’s uncle Asim Ijaz says: “They fought like lions. This is not mourning, this is a joyous moment.”

When Harindra Baweja, a known Indian journalist, went to hold an interview with the father of Burhan Wani, Muzaffar Wani, who had lost his two young sons at the hands of Indian forces, the father looked proud and contented as he elated the martyrdom of Burhan. The proud father told Miss Baweja that not only his son, but he and others also wanted ‘freedom’ from the Indian occupation of Kashmir.

The situation was not as volatile as it has turned now under the anti-Muslim, war-mongering regime of Mr. Modi. Siddiq Wahid, a Kashmiri historian who earned his Ph.D from Harvard says, “Nobody wants to be part of India now. Every Kashmiri is resisting today, in different ways.’’

Similar views are shared by the journalists sketching objective portrait of the valley. Jeffery Gettleman writing in The New York Times reports so, “Walk through Kashmiri villages, where little apples are ripening on the trees and the air tastes clean and crisp, and ask people what they want. The most common response is independence. Some say they want to join Pakistan. None say anything good about India, at least not in public.”

Now the point is that the barbarous and remorseless modes adopted by the Indian army are not yielding wholesome results, they would keep exacerbating the already turbulent environment if the modus operandi remains constant. Global media and also the United Nations have evermore been voicing solicitude as to the swelling human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Of late, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres remarks, “I remain concerned by the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”

The first-ever UN report on rights violations in Kashmir released some time ago focuses mainly on Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK), and accuses Indian troops of being responsible for unlawful killings.

India cannot make a gateway from the charge-sheet of committing heinous human rights violation by simply throwing blame on Pakistan as has always been the practice. Independent analysts are now confirming that the recent wave of resistance is indigenous. “The new breed of homegrown militants are distinctly different from the hardened, well-trained militants of the nineties who all crossed the border into Pakistan for training…they are also asked to arrange their own weapons and finances”, writes Toufiq Rashid in Hindustan Times. This is what is also implicitly confessed to by sources in Indian security forces as well.

The question usually stonewalled in India – its media and politicians – is why a theatre artist, or a football lover, or a PhD scholar, or an engineering student takes up arms defying the fear of horrible outcome. An honest analysis may lead to some findings. Heaping bodies over bodies of the Kashmiri youth will never lead to any substantial route. With every passing day, the gloom over the valley is becoming thicker and darker.

Coercions, suppressions and mass-murders cannot go on end. India cannot crush the indomitable spirits of the Kashmiri mothers and sisters who decorate the bodies of their brothers by applying henna before sending them to their eternal abode.

The issue has to settle somewhere. Whatever the solution has to be, the deciding factors in the long or short run will be the denizens of Kashmir. That’s what the UNSC resolutions say that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.


The writer is a lecturer at Punjab Group of
Colleges, Lahore.


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