It looks as if Burhan Wani’s funeral four years back and the ensuing ‘Kashmir Intifada’ still give New Delhi the creeps. Wani, a young freedom fighter, was martyred on July 8, 2016 and the uprising did not die down for as long as eight months. That is why the Indian authorities are now refusing to turn over the bodies of freedom fighters and possibly even innocent bystanders martyred by security forces in Occupied Kashmir, and burying them secretly.
A bombshell report by Kashmir Media Service says that instead of handing over the bodies to their families for mourning and burial, Indian authorities “have started quietly burying the bodies of local youth at faraway places in unmarked graves, under the supervision of a magistrate in order to avoid massive participation of the locals in the funerals of the martyrs”. While 14 Kashmiris have been martyred by the Indian occupation forces over the last five days, the KSM report identifies at least four young men whose bodies have been buried secretly. All four are said to have been martyred on April 22 in an incident in Shopian district, and buried in a government-managed graveyard the same day.
The world has seen the massive turnouts at funeral processions for countless young men, like Wani. Reverberating with thunderous anti-India slogans, these funerals demonstrated enduring passion for freedom. Pretty clearly, the Indian authorities are afraid that funerals of the martyred youth could further incite anti-India sentiments, which may erupt into another 2016-like uprising against India in Occupied Kashmir. And in a bid to avoid protests against their oppressive policies and the killing of innocents, they have chosen to stop letting victims mourn their dead. More virulent, of course, is the question of whether or not India is even allowing proper funeral rites to be performed for the victims.
There is much that could be said here, but we must hold back and just hope that it is untrue. India may not have respect for the living, but there is a certain universality about respect for the dead. It is part of the humanity that binds us all. We hope that, at least here, the Indian authorities managed to do the bare minimum expected of another human being.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2020.
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