In Kashmir, kill them while they are young

Published: April 15, 2015

Muzaffar Ahmed Wani, (L) Kashmiri resident, school teacher and father of the top commander of the biggest Kashmiri rebel group Hizbul Mujahideen, speaks as he sits alongside another son, Khalid Wani during an interview in Tral, south of Srinagar. PHOTO: AFP

Khalid returned home in peace. Not on his own legs, but on four shoulders. He looked alright, just that he did not talk. His bones made a cracking sound, his teeth floated in a pool of blood. His face was mutilated, his nose had been cut. He was not shot at; they had been very good to him. They had only tortured him to death. His face was covered with stale blood. His blood.

Khalid’s ‘crime’ – he happened to be a brother of a freedom fighter, a militant.

Khalid’s brother Burhan Wani, on his own, has given seven lakh Indian forces sleepless nights. He has been taunting them, irritating them. He has been defeating them alone. In the forests of Tral, he has been hunting them.

They call Burhan the most wanted “terrorist” in Kashmir.

To ask why Khalid was killed is, I suppose, unnecessary. However, this question makes for an interesting response. When a state with all its military structure, a client government, a compromised media and intelligence grid cannot track down one individual, they decide to push him to the wall. They plan to break him down, weaken his strengths. Reprisals are used as a state policy to make individuals succumb. In Kashmir, the Indian state has been using this tool systematically and effectively for co-opting the dissenters.

Over the last few years, Kashmir has seen a new kind of resistance movement. Unparalleled in the past, people are using both violent and non-violent means to fight against India. From the internet to the streets, Kashmiris have transformed every possible space into a protest ground. These unorganised attempts of political expression have caught an organised state structure off-guard. The dominance of Kashmir’s political narrative — constructed by young Kashmiris from their lessons in history — in academia, in journalism, in online spaces has made the Indian state look for cover. The educated rebel is more dangerous to them.

Now the state wouldn’t want to appear incompetent and incapable to its people at home. It has to do something to show its presence. Therefore, it terrorises – it kills.

Does time have anything to do anything with the killings?

The state would not want a healthy discussion or a warm welcome on the return of the Pandits by people in Kashmir. Ideally, it would like to go the way it wants to execute the “composite township” agenda. The resistance to such nefarious and colonial designs by the people goes against the interests of the state. Therefore, there has to be some diversions in the debate. Now the state has to do something to reassert that Kashmiri Muslims are “terrorists”, they won’t let Pandits return and live safely. A drama needs to be scripted. An encounter needs to be staged and executed with accuracy.

Also, summer has arrived. People are emerging out of the rubble left behind by the devastating floods. The state will not want them to engage with anything but disorder. Doing so will allow the government to embezzle funds supposedly meant for relief and rehabilitation.

Also, to say that these encounters are staged to keep the Armed Forces Special Act (AFSPA) intact has now been established as a fact. Now that the illegitimacy of this act has been made public by the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly, such incidents will occur more frequently.

Now the army does not kill people only to complement national interests and state policies. In Kashmir, the armed forces are given hefty monetary incentives to kill people. They are rewarded with promotions and medals.

Like all other killings in the past, this killing will also be followed by a probe. Ironically, the same people who are involved in the killings will investigate it. Then there will be another killing and the previous one will be dumped. Probes are meant to buy time, erase evidence and construct new plans. Actually these probes are meant to pacify people and tame their anger.

Denying justice to the people of Kashmir is state policy, like the killings practiced with the brute precision. State institutions, like the judiciary and police, work to complement each other’s actions. They are synchronised to keep people in a perpetual state of waiting. With time, not only does evidence wither away, but people are drained of their resources to fight.

In such circumstances, where does one go?

The predicament is that justice is to be sought from the very same state which violates, which kills. This may not be a return of the “season of killings” (2008-10), but this surely is an extension of that.

The underpinning objective is: Kill them young.

Basharat Ali

Basharat Ali

Basharat Ali is a freelance writer and blogger. He is doing his masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He tweets as @Basharat_Dar (twitter.com/Basharat_Dar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Headstrong

    Well, Bashrat, . We know that there was no torture, but if you feel it necessary to incite your fellow separatists, even as you sit safe in Delhi while you do your masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building in New Delhi (oh the irony!), do go on. We will do what we have to to preserve our integrity. If you have even a modicum of self-respect, I dare you to give up your cushy seat and go join your brethren in J&K. You can keep calling them freedom fighters, if they spread terror, they are terrorists and will be dealt with accordingly. Recommend

  • Gurjeet

    Height of extremism. Why don’t this man write about Kashmiri pandits.why don’t he study in Yemen or any Muslim countryRecommend

  • Pnpuri

    If they are freedom fighters, why kill pandits? Why oppose a town where pandits may feel secured. Once they feel secured, they will move out of township and live in areas where Muslims are living.Recommend

  • shrihari kulkarni

    Kashmir is too strategic to be given any freedomRecommend

  • Amit Lunia

    No , In Kashmir they start killing when they are youngRecommend

  • ab1990

    I am enjoying this very much. This is called karmaRecommend

  • Shah Waseem Yousuf

    Beautifully written article and based on ground realityRecommend

  • Kumar

    Good joke. So writer live and study in India but love Pakistan. Good keep up this hypocrisy.Recommend

  • mimi sur

    Thanks Mr.Ali for your suggestion. We will do the same . But bullets don’t discriminate between a young and old .Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/ ather khan

    request to indians, if you want us to let go kashmir, please behave well with them. we can’t just ignore how you treat our flesh and blood brothers of kashmir this way.Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    Very nice support to terrorist and terror outfits …… Now please write something about FATA and Baluchistan. Please list the number of killings and circumstances in Baluchistan, FATA, GB, PHK and Karachi ….. :-)Recommend

  • Prakash

    You and your ilk have only one aim – to keep crying ‘wolf’. But don’t worry, the common Kashmiri now has learnt not to fall into these traps. That’s why more than 70% Kashmiris voted in the recent elections.Recommend

  • whatever

    suggestion for author just change some names and places in the article and you can also use this article for Baluchistan plight in some international news papersRecommend

  • abhi

    Not a single word of sympathy for pandits …Recommend

  • ravi

    4 indian army men also killed in same encounter.. Army went for Khalid, Burhan was with him. Ask killer Khalid why he abandoned poor Burhan and run away.. http://www.knskashmir.com/newsdet.aspx?q=1593Recommend

  • wb

    Look, don’t you understand this even after 70 years.

    Kashmir dispute is not political. Kashmir dispute is not real estate. Kashmir dispute is religious.

    It’s the simple idea of Muslims dominating over the others.

    And Kashmir dispute is not even about Kashmir. It is about India.

    If you think I’m mad to say that, you can refer to Hussain Haqqani (the traitor) and Christine Fair.

    Let me promptly twist Hameed Gul’s words: 1947 bahana tha, Kashmir Thikana hai, Bharat nishana hai.Recommend

  • wb

    Why the heck a Kashmir should write about Karachi and Balochistan?

    Ask him to promptly write about the genocide of Hindus of Kashmir.
    Recommend

  • wb

    Contrary to that, we want you to hold on to Kashmir. Keep muddying the water.

    After all, Kashmir was the reason 1971 happened. Recommend

  • Tufayl

    Very well written. India doesn’t understand any other language. Don’t show any sympathy to Indians. Recommend

  • wb

    That’s unfair to be asking a misguided student about self-respect. And he’s not even a sharp student at that.

    You should be asking about self-respect from National Conference leaders and PDP leaders. They’re the leeches who not only take favors from GOI, then side with separatists either overtly or covertly.Recommend

  • akram

    every attempt of india to subjugate and terrorize kashmiris will fail . black laws of the indian military that give them powers to kill and torture young kashmiris will eventually have far reaching consequences for india. hope india addresses the grievances and arrange a plebisciteRecommend

  • akram

    writer does not love anyone but is merely speaking the truth.Recommend

  • Agrippa-The Skeptic

    The Author:

    Have a look at this:
    http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/poetic-license/

    Looks familiar?Recommend

  • Abhishek Nag

    This article has set standard of double standard, no wonder its published in pakistan media. The same kashmiris happily killed thousands of pundits, but dont want terrorists to be murdered. Forget abt freedom, UN recognized kashmir as indian territory. The land belongs to indiaRecommend

  • Sereen

    I pity the people who find it hard to digest reality and comment so ignorantly.
    #FreeKashmir
    Recommend

  • Milind A

    So it is ok for your patrons Pakistan to bomb their terrorists and mysteriously disappear terror suspects, BLA freedom fighters or MQM activists. But if this happens in India (not the bombing though) then its an issue.
    Our Govt should be thanked for being proactive, so that we can sleep in peace. Rather than wait for a Peshawar like tragedy to wake us up and then bomb and hang suspects.Recommend

  • amlendu

    There will not be another division of India on the name of religion or any such bogus identity. If all people understand this it will be good for there health. I do not have any sympathy for people who think that they are part of a different religion and can’t live with others.Recommend

  • Ramsay

    Ather Khan: You are misinformed. Why would India just mistreat Kashmiri Muslims? Why isn’t there any other part of India where Muslims are revolting? It’s obvious that they have been brainwashed in the name of religion and hypothetical glory. I request you to talk to Muslims from other parts of India.Recommend

  • aml

    Why only Kashmir, why not Jammu, Laddakh, Gilgit, or any smaller part of J&K.? How will you decide the geographical unit which should be basis of self determination? What if people of Baramulla want to be separate from people of Srinagar, will you let them be free?
    Will you or ths blogger be clamoring for freedom of Kashmir if you were not muslims?

    Start looking at world without the aid of religion and you’ll be able to see that the Kashmiris don’t need any freedom but they need to learn how to live with people of other faiths or no faith as equal citizens.
    India and most of Indians have supported cause of Palestine not because of religious affinity but because they were not treated equally by Israel.

    If state gives equal rights to all the citizens through constitution (As Indian State does) then there is no more freedom to be achieved.Recommend

  • Effendi Pasha

    Majority of the commenters writhing in pain and contorting
    themselves, are Bharati nationals. With ridiculous irrational
    pathetic snippets. Recommend

  • Brar

    And the same ground realities prevail in Balochistan Pakistan where a mere discussion about Baloch problem discussion is not allowed in a University.Recommend

  • Kulbir

    Where ever fundoo Sunni muslims are in majority , minorities suffer untold miseries. They simply do not wish to live peacefully on earth but aim to have their promised quota of 72 hooris in heaven. They are so heartless to train even their innocent children, as young as 10 years to kill other human beings. I would love to see their reaction, if the promise of hooris remains a promise.Recommend

  • haha

    hahahahaRecommend

  • haha

    true india shoudnt be dividd anymoreRecommend

  • ak

    Truth like how 3army men also got killed in the said encounter?
    Truth like the boy’s brother actually started the shooting?
    Truth like how Pandits have not been allowed to return, and its the largest exodus of people India (apart from killing) in modern India.
    Truth like Muslim blood is more important to this author than the Pandits ones?
    Oh yeah, he does state the truthRecommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    He belongs to nowhere, let him first read and understand Kashmir and Kashmiriyat in detail.Recommend

  • marik

    The Pandits are Kashmiris and should have the right of return just like the people of Palestine. The people who forced them out of their homes or object to their return are thugs.Recommend

  • Rohit

    You can keep trying. The same language has cost you half of your country in 1971 Recommend

  • wb

    Kashmiriyat is another term that has absolutely no meaning. The day Kashmiri Mulsims understand that is the day they will start living.Recommend

  • wb

    Bharati itself also means Indian national. No need to add nationals again. Bharati will do.Recommend

  • marik

    Yes but there are some nations which teach their people to have an extremely short memory. Your dear neighbors are one of them.Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    Majority of them understand, except few Hurr Phurr Jumping Blind Donkeys.Recommend

  • Allah

    100% correctRecommend

  • Ram

    you are allowed to study and pursue your aspirations in capital of India on tax payers expense, you choose to destroy the fabric of land which has given everything to you, those who are killed here are simple terrorist who hide behind poor women and children and that is the reason it is difficult to find them.

    Do you even realize that a strong and vibrant muslims of south Asia is now divided in three countries and what else you are going to achieve by making another divisionRecommend

  • M.Saeed

    It is a daylight truth that Kashmir was left blistering by the British in their revenge against the necessity to accept “Two Nation Theory”. Otherwise, what was the reason behind reversing the clock by 3 days and signing the forced letter of allegiance with India under duress by the Maharajah Hari Singh by the disgraced Mountbatten, in the presence of “Pundit” Nehru? The treachery in dealings is clear. Otherwise, what is the answer for rejecting the independent opinion and over-running the Princely State of Hyderabad (a Hindu majority state with a Muslim ruler (Nizam) and forcing the Hindu Maharajah of Muslim majority state of Kashmir to sign letter of succession? Is it not eating the cake (dubiously) and still having it? A glaring case of playing double standards!Recommend

  • abhi

    This should be under poetic license because that is what it is.Recommend

  • Hoshang Ansari

    May all the hindu gods have mercy on your tortured soul.
    All 5,683 of them.Recommend

  • Zee

    Very good! Pl keep speaking the truth and be safe. And to all Indians, keep trolling but this way you can’t hide or brush away the facts.

    Yesterday, you saw Pak flag in Kashmir, tomorrow in other parts of india if you read the Hindu extremists whether in govt or general public continue to oppress the kashimiris / Muslims in India.
    Recommend

  • Ahmed

    FYKI, more muslims have died at the hands of Indian Armed Forces than the Pundits that have died at the hands of freedom fighters or militants.Recommend

  • Ajay Mittal

    Do you even allow freedom fighters to open their mouths in POK? Take a poll in G&B, all want to come to India. Take a poll in Baluchistan and see if they want to come to India or at least leave Pakistan. What you see happening in Indian State of J&K is only because our forward looking, fair, democratic constitution allows it. Had we behaved like China in Xinjiang, you would not only NOT hear a single voice of revolt BUT ALSO NOT hear any noise from loudspeakers atop mosques, sacrificing of animals on Eid or even see wearing of burkhas. Forget about being allowed to run madrasses. If India was Pakistan, a lot of fidyaeen groups would be operating that would mark each Pakistani flag bearing person in Kashmir between the eyes with their guns. Geelani, Masrat Alam, etc. would have long ago been lying buried 6 feet deep inside unmarked graves or even in incinerators. IT IS ONLY IN INDIA SUCH THINGS HAPPEN BECAUSE THEY ARE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN.Recommend

  • Guest

    Dear Prakash…
    Never talk of a city where u don’t intend to go… Kashmiri people are full aware of what they want and what they are doing…. Voting is something different…….Recommend

  • ak

    FYI..lol..dil ko behlaane ke liye khayal achha hai

    More people have been affected due to kashmiri islamists than by anyone.
    More number of people have been terrorized by Pakistaani sponser terrorist than anyone
    POK kashmiris are in much worse situationRecommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    Read Partition Plan in detail. The division of motherland was not to create two polka dot nations. It was giving specified separate land to Muslims under Indian Independence Act, 1947 (Sec.2). This land was separated on 14.08.1947 and remaining India was given Independence only thereafter on next day. Don’t try to spread ignorance. Recommend

  • Vishnu

    100% wrongRecommend

  • M.Saeed

    Thanking you Chadha Sb, for vindicating my post and showing the truth, although inadvertently
    Now for rectifying of “presumptive ignorance), let me elaborate further. You can cross check the facts from India Section of the British Library, London. It was Lord Mountbatten who fixed 11th of August, 1947 as the date for submitting letter of succession/ allegiance with India. Because of heavy rains for several days in Srinagar, the flight to Srinagar could not operate because the runway was not fit for operation during rains, being un-tarred at the time. Maharajah therefore had to travel by road and reached Delhi on 13th. Therefore the letter was signed on 14th, 3 days after the due date.Recommend

  • http://gravatar.com/skchadha SKChadha

    Sir with due respect , please also read sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Indian Independence Act, 1947 wherein fifteenth day of August is “the appointed day”. Read it in reference to clause (b) of sub-section (3) of section 2 which clearly state that:
    “no area which forms part of the territories specified in the said subsection (1) or, as the case may be, the said subsection (2), or which has after the appointed day been included in either Dominion, shall be excluded from that Dominion without the consent of that Dominion.”

    Now read Instrument of Accession of 26th October. I hope it will clarify the situation.Recommend

  • M.Saeed

    The role of Kashmiri Pundits and Sheikhs have a unique coincidence that carries a scientific angle to consider in human behavior. It relates to Genetic Expediencies of people.
    It is a well known fact that, the great grandfather of Pundit Nehru was a Muslim named Ghayasuddin Ghazi who adopted the Hindu name of Gangadhar Nehru during 1857 struggle (he lived close to a nehr near Red Fort), to avoid being persecuted by the British (Encyclopedia of Indian War of Independence” (ISBN:81-261-3745-9).
    On the other hand, Sheikh Abdullah was the descendant of a Hindu Kashmiri Pundit named Ragho Ram Koul who had converted to Islam in 1890 and after conversion changed his name to Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. Well known Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah was the namesake of that progenitor of his family.
    We need to know and appreciate how such coincidences and family traits work to change the history in the world, just personal whims at great costs.Recommend

  • Neeru Gautam

    well said mr. ajayRecommend

  • Neeru Gautam

    @Zee muslims in india are in better state of mind as they are availing quality education and exposure to quality of life, respect for women non shariat laws etc. presently muslim across the whole world are divided whether to support or not support ISIS model of islamization. another thing who soever muslims given their comments above against hindus may introspect themselves, they will find it is the repercussion of constant anti India anti hindu campaign that has been inflicted in the nascent mind of a growing child by their parents aur maulvi of a madrassa which make biggest hindrance in erasing clash of civilization otherwise a qualified person like osama-bin laden would not have been held for murdering thousand of people.Recommend

  • G. Din

    “Kashmiriyat” was on full display when Kashmiri Pandits were thrown over the bridge railings into the flowing Vitasta, when they were forced to watch the decapitation of their children barely out of their teens, when they were murdered in cold blood.
    And now, the same muderers want Pandits to come live amongst them.
    Are you aware that this is the second holocaust Pandits have been subjected after they had been reduced to just 11 families in the first holocaust by the very same Kashmiri Muslims?Recommend

  • G. Din

    Don’t hold your breath, my friend!Recommend

  • G. Din

    So far, it looks they are!Recommend

  • neat

    India doesn’t realize that Pakistan is now a democracy. The free ride is over. Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of Partition. We will get freedom for the oppressed Kashmirs because it is unfair that the only muslim majority area remaining be left at India’s mercyRecommend

  • Prasanna Chitnis

    To all kashmiri separatists on this blog just google BALOCHWARNA , to see what your paki- Punjabi bed partners r doing in Occupied Balochistan , its on d way2 become another ‘Bangladesh’ .AZAD BALOCHISTAN ZINDABAD. JAI HIND.Tell this2 gilani , & traitor burhan wani Recommend

  • Prasanna Chitnis

    Ahmed miya more Balochi Muslims r also dying daily @ the hands of ur bed partners paki- Punjabi army which is also a Muslim army , google BALOCHWARNA.Recommend

  • shahid

    India has shown on many occasions its liberal constitution by hanging people to satisfy the collective conscious of Indian society. …..what a society that connects humans.
    Recommend