TRAL: Two years have passed since the killing of charismatic Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani, and on every single day of these two years his family has been receiving guests, fifteen to twenty of them, from across Jammu and Kashmir.
Burhan was killed in a gunfight with government forces in Bemdoora village of Kokernag in Anantnag district on July 8, 2016. Kashmir valley remained shut for more than five months while at least a hundred civilians were killed protesting his killing.
“And from even parts of India as well,” says Muzaffar Wani, Burhan’s father, at his home in Shareefabad village in Tral, minutes after several militants appeared at his son’s grave on Friday and offered a gun salute.
Not only Burhan’s grave but his house, barely 200 meters downhill from the graveyard, has become a relic for people, particularly those living in Kashmir.
Every day, Muzaffar Wani says, without fail, fifteen to twenty people reach his home. “Some of them sit with us, some sit in the lawn for a while and leave, and some just see the house from a distance without even meeting us,” Muzaffar Wani said.
Asked why these people visit and what do they say when they come, Muzaffar said that everyone has only one thing to say, “We just wanted to see where Burhan lived, what lanes he walked through.”
“They all come to express their love to my son. It has been overwhelming for me and my family,” the father said, adding that he has received people from every nook and corner of the valley.
Moreover, people from Doda, Bhaderwah, Reasi, Kishtwar, Jammu and some places in India have at different times visited the family.
“Many of them just come to the graveyard, offer a Fatiha and leave,” a shopkeeper outside the graveyard told Kashmir Reader.
He said that he tells many of the visitors to not bother the family and they duly oblige.
“They just pray at the grave and leave. Some, however, do visit the family. Every day I see more than thirty people come to the grave and offer prayers,” the shopkeeper said.
The number of visitors swells as the anniversary of Burhan’s death nears. “Last year as well, hundreds of people visited the grave and this year the numbers have been swelling as the anniversary date approaches,” said another local who lives near the graveyard.
He said that the people realize they won’t be allowed to venture into Tral on the anniversary or a day ahead, “so they pay their tributes in advance.”
A curfew was imposed in Tral on Saturday, a day ahead of Burhan’s death anniversary.