Residents confront army with Azadi cry in Gurez

Residents confront army with Azadi cry in Gurez
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Video goes viral

Bandipora: In a video that has gone viral on social media, people from the Dard-Shina tribe living in Gurez near the border with Gilgit in Pakistan, are seen confronting the Indian army and raising pro-Azadi and pro-Islam slogans.
People of the Dard-Shina tribe inhabit a remote, mountainous region and live in close proximity with the Indian army, as Gurez is one of the most garrisoned areas along the Line of Control (LoC).
The villages in this remote valley have largely remained untouched by the violence that is common in rest of the Kashmir valley. Locals are outnumbered by army soldiers and cut-off from the rest of the world due to their geographical location. Even through frequent flare-ups with Pakistan along the LoC and war-like situations in the past, the people have stayed calm, though during the 2016 Kashmir uprising which erupted after Burhan Wani’s killing, Gurez also witnessed shutdowns and protests.
Last week, a video shot at Dawar, the main station at Gurez, went viral. It showed locals confronting army soldiers after they had beaten up a local driver. The driver is now admitted in hospital.
The army action led to a public assembly where people asked army soldiers if this was how they were being rewarded for their loyalty towards India. A bearded man surrounded by locals is heard shouting, “It is our pro-Indian attitude for which we are being rewarded by the army.” As an army officer in civvies tries to calm him down, he continues to speak, “Since ’89 we have remained peaceful, keeping to the Indian side. Does it mean we will be beaten like this? Open our roads, we will go to Pakistan.”
The man’s words are hailed by slogans from the assembled crowd.
The bearded man goes on to say that no one has rebelled against India with a gun in Gurez. “Check the history,” he says. “Since 1947, only in Gurez no one has picked up a gun.”
Following this, he shouts pro-Islam slogans which are answered by the crowd. He goes on to chant, “Hum Kya Chahtay?” (What do we seek?), to which the answer comes loud and repeatedly: “Azadi” (Freedom).
An officer in the district administration confirmed the incident and said that they were investigating this case of army soldiers beating up a local driver in Gurez.