By Sahil Manzoor
During 1990s when armed resistance against Indian occupation was at its peak, my mom was battling with my diapers. Since then the resistance has gone through many phases. I never had a firsthand experience of our freedom struggle, from being the toddler during the early days and then staying away from my motherland during recent uprising against Indian hegemony in 2008 and 2010. Last month I decided to visit my hometown and celebrate Eid with my family and friends. I was quite thrilled and excited about the visit and planned my days well in advance.
It was 8th of July I was walking along with my folks on the banks of famous Dal Lake; people from across the city had thronged the Mughal Gardens, tourists were enjoying the Shikara rides, traffic snarls and lots of hustle and bustle. One of my friend’s phone rang and we all were rattled by the news that Burhan Wani got martyred. With broken hopes and moist eyes we reached our destinations.
I sensed something humongous is going to happen. Though Kashmiri’s had sacrificed so many precious lives in past but this lad was different, he had a great mass appeal. It was my time to experience to taste the new wave of uprising against the brutal Indian regime.
We in Kashmir usually celebrate Eid for three days, and it was third day but all the happiness disappeared and atmosphere of sorrow engulfed every member of the family. In my locality a group of girls in the age group of 5-10 years were discussing why only boys protest or pelt stone, why can’t they too against the aggression of oppressors? Some with clenched fist desired to break the heads of policemen who were patrolling the streets; such was the level of anger. One of my friend’s 6-year-old son refused to take his dinner until he was shown Azaadi.
The first lady Chief Minister of state continued the legacy of her father, which was full of lies, opportunism, rhetoric of peace with dignity, battle of ideas, healing touch, etc. During his tenure as Home Minister of India, Kashmir faced the maximum number of massacres. Coming back to CM sahiba, she started her inning as a head of the state with a masterstroke from Handwara. Her method to muzzle the voice of Kashmiris was echoed in Delhi as well, where her allies, Modi bhakts reiterated to deal ‘miscreants’ with iron fist. Her whereabouts were not known until she appeared to pay her homage and wearth to the martyrs of 1931 unaware of the fact she is doing the same what dogras did in 1930s.
The mourners were framed as Pakistani paid agents, missguided youth, drug addicts, sympathizers of terrorism and mobs. Police claimed huge numbers of policemen were injured by stone-pelters, but where they are treated is still a mystery. The police did not spare anyone from small kids to elderly women, ambulance drivers, bullet ridden injured were beaten up, barged into hospitals and ransacked houses. Surely policemen deserve accolades.
The team of doctors sent by New Delhi in their media briefing said it is a war like situation in hospital and they have never seen such injuries in their long careers. I also got a chance to visit hospital to see the victims of state terrorism. It was beyond comprehension to see small kids and boys at the peak of their youth bedridden. One of the wards had around 40 young boys on beds on either sides of the ward all wearing sunglasses, a rare sight in any hospital of the world. All were hit by pallets and chance of losing their vision is quite high. I interacted with a father of two daughters who was hit by a rubber bullet on her left eye, which was removed and doctors said he might lose vision in his right eye as well. Before his eye was removed he told the team of doctors that his eye should be stitched in such a way that his daughter should not get scared of him in future. Irrespective of all this, these boys were high on sprit and hope. In one voice they said, they are bedridden but not dead and till their last breath they will fight for their azaadi, whole ward was reverberate by the slogan Hum Kya chahte azaadi. Imagine the innocence of 9-year-old girl who was hit by pallets when asked what happened to her, she said police uncle burst some crackers.
After the undeclared curfew and ban on internet we rely on Indian media houses. They not only do injustice to their profession but air such hoax stories which have no truth and spread hatred for Kashmiri. That is the reason most of the journalists working for Indian media houses face the wrath of local populace. The uprising is framed as sponsored, those protest or mourn where addressed at drug addicts or paid agents from across the border, those who sympathize are called anti-national agents. They never address the real issues. They never narrate the ugly side of their armed forces that use all barbaric acts. If we throw stones we are a mob, but if your army men use catapults and stones they are called brave hearts. They never use the same yard stick while covering the Jatt agitation or Patel agitation which was violent by all means. They damage state properties, block highways, indulge in arson and commit rapes. I observe that this hatred against us make us more determined and firm to achieve our goal of kicking occupiers out of our land. Every hour of primetime TV news hysteria pushes Kashmir, pushes us more towards the ultimate goal of Azaadi.
The government in the centre takes no time to blame Pakistan for the unrest. Old habits die hard. Clueless Rajnath Singh came with some recruitment offers. Some had their own versions to deal with us with an iron fist with zero compromise on their national security. They sent more troops to already highest militarized zone in the world. To the the ringmasters in India, send more troops but you cannot suppress the idea of Azaadi.
We displayed our unity, determination and strength again. Be it different factions of pro-freedom parties, different schools of thought, different walks of life left behind their difference and in one voice denounced this onslaught by the tyrants. I saw tents of Jamiat Ahle Hadees, shias from Khomeini group, Anjuman-i-Nusrat-ul-Islam and other sects side by side rendering their services for the the victims of state violence. The courage and enthusiasm shown by volunteers and doctors is the symbol of our determination.
No doubt we have differences, black sheep, difference of opinions, grey areas to work on but we all are together. Our freedom struggle is in safe hands and it will come to its logical conclusion that is Azaadi. Azaadi from Oppression, Azaadi from Tyranny, Azaadi from bloodshed, Azaadi from draconian laws, Azaadi from curbs, Azaadi from Abdullah’s, Azaadi from Muftis. Our sovereignty.