Burhan Wani’s death anniversary: An unforgettable legacy, July 8, 2016

Throughout history, a consistent thread connects the tales of brave individuals who dared to challenge the status quo and stand up against injustice. From Nelson Mandela’s steadfast resistance to oppression in South Africa to the revolutionary leader Che Guevara in Cuba, the list of brave individuals who fought for freedom is long and inspirational. A young Kashmiri politician named Burhan Muzaffar Wani stood resolutely against the illegitimate occupation of the Indian army in Kashmir. Future generations will value their courageous actions as they pass down their stories through the ages. Their lasting legacy shows that fighting for equality and justice is the path to freedom.

All too often throughout history, brave leaders who dared to question authority and speak out against injustice would meet a brutal end. Those afraid to let go of power hinder the efforts of courageous individuals who want a more just society where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. On July 8, a young Kashmiri leader named Burhan Wani gave his life as a martyr, smearing the pages of Kashmir’s indigenous freedom fight with blood.

His selfless act validates the bravery of the Kashmiri people, who have endured centuries of oppression at the hands of India. On this anniversary of their deaths, we mark Burhan Wani and all the Kashmiris who have sacrificed themselves for independence. We pledge to do everything in our power to provide the next generation of Kashmiri leaders with the education and experience they need to fight for equality and independence in their memory.

The young Kashmiri Burhan Wani played a significant role in the struggle for independence from India. Despite being an excellent student, Indian forces’ violent torture in 2010 led him to join the movement. While leading the Hizbul Mujahedeen, he became a symbol of the Kashmiri rebellion against the Indian occupation troops. Wani became famous among Kashmiris, particularly the region’s youth when he began actively engaging with social media.

He had threatened Indian persecution in India, which illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) for six years until his death on July 8, 2016, at the hands of Indian security forces. Wani was laid to rest beside his elder brother, Khalid Muzafar Wani. Almost a million people attended Eidgah Tral, where 40 funerals occurred. On his own, Burhan Wani reenergized the freedom effort, becoming a symbol of rebellion.

Burhan Wani, the courageous leader, revived the IIOJK independence struggle by promoting the attack against the Indian Army’s disgusting actions. He had New Delhi’s security forces on high alert for almost six years as he shocked India’s upper levels by gathering sympathy for the Kashmiri cause through his massive social media following. Wani, a political genius and freedom warrior, joined the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) to fortify the struggle for Kashmir.

For almost six years, he remained on his own, avoiding capture by forming a routine with his friends and changing locations at night in southern Kashmir. With a 355% spike in protests in Kashmir between 2015 and 2016, Wani’s name became almost synonymous with rebellion. He became an even more potent symbol of the perseverance of the Kashmiri people after his tragic death on July 8, 2016.

The fact that Burhan Wani escaped capture despite over 20 crackdowns by the Indian army, all because brave locals risked their lives to rescue him, demonstrated his enormous popularity in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). Because of the struggle for freedom, thousands of Kashmiris have died or gone missing. As long as the independence struggle persists, we will continue to revere and honor Wani and other martyred leaders. Despite brutal methods, the unwavering determination of the Kashmiri people has made the struggle for independence impossible to defeat.

The crackdown and violence that followed Burhan Wani’s death:

Protests and violence raged in IIOJK for almost eight months after the execution of Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. The disruption, which resulted in over 15,000 injuries and over 100 civilian deaths, showcased the steadfast dedication of the people to Wani and his cause. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) arranged a commemoration program that included protests and shutdowns, drawing enormous numbers over the whole week. All ten districts of the Kashmir Valley witnessed protests, with about 90% of the populace joining the strike. This further proves that the fight for Kashmiri independence is far from over and that Wani’s legacy will endure.

The assassination of Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016, was a watershed moment in the fight for Kashmiri independence and galvanized a new wave of activists. The world media has consistently recognized Wani’s sacrifice and the validity of the Kashmiri cause, even if the most recent Bollywood propaganda movie “Article 370” twisted the facts of his murder. Several news outlets have covered the official crackdown and subsequent peaceful demonstrations after Wani’s murder, drawing attention to the human rights violations committed by the Indian government. Every member of Kashmiri society acknowledges Wani’s role in the independence movement, and his legacy motivates the fight for equality and freedom.

Abdul Mussawer Safi
Abdul Mussawer Safi

is associated with think tanks like the Institute of Policy Studies Islamabad (IPS). He is pursuing his master’s in international relations at the National Defense University Islamabad. His expertise lies in the regional dynamics of South Asia.

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