Stories about Burhan Wani

Before chanting ‘Geneva Convention violations’, India should look in its own backyard

Last week saw tensions between India and Pakistan escalate further, as India launched an attack on Balakot and Pakistan responded the next day by downing two Indian jets and capturing an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot. Soon after, a video circulated on social media in which the captured pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, can be seen blindfolded, his face bloodied as he shares his name, rank and service details on camera. The video was later taken down, but the Indian forces, in a joint conference, began to allege that Pakistan had violated the norms of the Geneva Convention. The same Indian ...

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A lesson for Kashmiris from Manan Wani: “We cannot let the occupation manoeuvre us any longer”

As I pursue my PhD, more often than not I find myself going through and posting on social media on matters ranging from political and social issues to, of course, poetry. However, when Manan Bashir Wani, a PhD scholar at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), joined the Hizbul Mujahideen earlier this year to fight the Indian occupation of Kashmir, I found I had nothing to say. The reason for my silence was primarily the knowledge that from the day one becomes a freedom fighter in present day Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), they don’t get to live for more than six months. Added to this was ...

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How Modi convinced India to celebrate a ‘surgical strike’ that never actually happened

Sparta, a warrior city in ancient Greece, was known for the ferocity of its soldiers. But while its soldiers might have been the best in the ancient world, its citizens were not far behind when it came to verbal jibes, particularly one-liners. For instance, Philip II of Macedon, father to Alexander the Great, had conquered almost every other Greek city-state. Sparta was the only one left, and that too, a relatively weak state without walls. Obviously, Philip II dispatched a messenger who delivered the Macedonian King’s message, “If I invade Lakonia you will be destroyed, never to rise again.” The Spartans ...

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Talks on, talks off: Modi, a prisoner of the past, is afraid of peace

Does the Indian government have a coherent policy towards Pakistan? Is ‘adhocism’ now the mantra followed by India’s foreign policy?  After the abrupt cancellation of talks between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan by New Delhi, the aforementioned questions – which were only whispered earlier – are now being raised loud and clear.  India has not been taken for such a ride by its own government before, the way it is under the Narendra Modi regime. Never before has a party with such an overwhelming majority treated its own people so shabbily. What the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has been doing ...

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Why the world isn’t talking about Kashmir

Today, the trend lines for Jammu and Kashmir are quite troubling, to say the least. Nearly a year after Indian security forces killed Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri militant with a large following, anger hasn’t abated. Tension has risen in recent days after a video surfaced on social media that appeared to depict Indian security forces using heavy-handed tactics against a civilian. On April 24th, assailants gunned down a local politician in Kashmir, Abdul Gani Dar. Students have regularly clashed with security forces. When Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh this week, according to ...

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Is India losing Kashmir?

As India’s most restive region stares down the abyss of what a commentator calls another “hot summer of violence”, the doom-laden headline has returned with a vengeance: Is India losing Kashmir? Last summer was one of the bloodiest in the Muslim-dominated valley in recent years. Following the killing of influential militant Burhan Wani by Indian forces last July, more than 100 civilians lost their lives in clashes during a four-month-long security lockdown in the valley. It’s not looking very promising this summer. This month’s parliamentary election in Srinagar was scarred by violence and a record-low turnout of voters. To add fuel to the fire, graphic social videos surfaced claiming to show abuses by security forces and young ...

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Does the on-going Kashmir “movement” lack a plan of action?

In Why Did the ‘Twitter Revolutions’ Fail?, an article published in the New York Times last year, Ivan Krastev couches his set of arguments in a thought-provoking manner by referring to history. He writes that, immediately after the 1851 Paris coup by Napoleon, some of the greatest political minds from Europe, including Karl Marx (a communist), Pierre Joseph Proudhon (an anarchist), Victor Hugo (a romantic), Alexis de Tocqueville and Walter Bagehot (the liberals) hustled to their reading rooms to understand the Paris coup and draw philosophical conclusions out of such events. To quote Ivan, “Their interpretations of the coup were as different ...

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The dark hope of freedom

They could clearly hear the sound of wailing from their neighbour’s house. Another suspected freedom fighter was dead at the hands of the Indian army. Guilty or not, it didn’t really matter and guilty of what? Ayaan thought. Of trying to free themselves from the evil tyrants? He glanced at his mother and saw her praying. Obviously praying for the safety of her family and for peace in Kashmir. His mother was a dreamer despite the hell she had been through but Ayaan himself had given up on hopes and dreams, all he focused on was blending in with ...

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As an Indian army soldier, this is what I wanted to say to a Kashmiri child, but couldn’t

I have been to Kashmir. No, not as a tourist. I have lived there. I have worked there. I was part of the heavy military instrument of the Indian State in the paradise, guarding it from the heaven dwellers themselves. And some mischievous neighbours too. As a 21-year-old, with the might of one of the biggest militaries in the world behind me and its command pinned on my shoulders, its determination manifested in the AK in my hand, I have roamed the towns and villages with authority which none of the Burhan Wanis or Bhatts or Wazirs or Bhans or Wattals or anybody else whose land ...

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An open letter to Indians

Dear Indians, As someone whose recent family history is very much a consequence of partition, I am no stranger to the divisiveness of Pak-India politics. Despite a shared history and culture, we stand today as two nuclear armed nations that have fought three wars against each other. Hatred for the other is fostered in both countries – neither India nor Pakistan is innocent as far as propagating hyper-nationalist aggression is concerned, but this time around, it feels slightly different. This time around, your government, sections of your media, and sections of your civil society (in concert with the government) are behaving in an exceptionally immature and dangerous manner. They ...

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