SHOPIAN/ KULGAM: The four districts of south Kashmir — Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Kulgam – continue to remain under curfew with local youth determined to not allow business to return to usual. Since the uprising began after Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8, local youth come out every morning and block all the roads, streets and alleys, preventing the possibility of any area defying the shutdown call.
“There is no day when protests don’t take place. We don’t want to lose this momentum like in 2010. We want to make sure that the shutdown is observed in letter and spirit,” said Zeeshan Ahmad of Kulgam, who has been participating in protests since the first day. Zeeshan has recently cleared his Class 12 board exams.
Smouldering embers of anti-India anger and defiance in Kashmir
Youth have blocked all the main squares, lanes and alleys in these four districts. They don’t allow anybody to cross them, except patients in emergency. The roads are painted with pro-freedom and anti-India slogans while Pakistani flags are hoisted on government buildings. At many places in Kulgam, youth note down the registration number of vehicles seen moving in the area, to later punish them for this transgression.
“In the past two weeks, more than 50 people have been killed and thousands have been injured. These sacrifices have been offered to freedom, not to any person. We are determined to not give up until freedom is attained. The Hurriyat should understand this,” Zeeshan said.
Irfan Muzaffar, a youth from Yaripora, said that this uprising was “a golden opportunity that we cannot afford to lose.”
“We saw that nothing happened after 2010. This uprising started spontaneously and simultaneously everywhere. It has to end with azadi. We should make this mode of resistance our way of living. We should not find a way to continue our education, business and life until Azadi dawns on us,” Irfan said.
Mohammad Muzaffar of Kulgam shares the same view. He has been protesting with his friends since June 8. “Burhan’s killing shocked us. He had won our hearts and we want to take his mission to its conclusion. We take command of all areas and we request people to respect the shutdown. They don’t need work for food. We will supply them everything like we did in 2010 and September 2014 floods,” Muzaffar said.
This correspondent spoke to more than a dozen youth on his way to south Kashmir, at places where they had blocked the roads. On the road to Bijbehara, some two-dozen youth had blocked the way. Anyone asking to be allowed to pass was checked and given passage only in case of some emergency.
In the four districts of south Kashmir, more than 40 martyrs have lost their lives to government action. Anantnag leads the number with 20, followed by Kulgam (12), Shopian (6) and Pulwama (5).