Friday, July 15, 2016

Burhan Wani, Terrorist or Freedom Fighter

Kashmir is on the boil again. As security forces had cornered and killed Burhan Wani, commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, protests have erupted. Young men and women as well as adults have attacked police force. One police officer was killed as his vehicle was pushed into river. House where Burhan Wani was killed has been burnt. Orchard of house owner has been razed. In a moving piece, Mr. Prem Shankar Jha has described Burhan Wani to be a young man. He should have been advised to shun violence. Protest over Burhan Wani may go out of control. India may be eventual loser.

 Question remains, is Burhan Wani a freedom fighter or a terrorist? Burhan Wani had picked up gun. He died by gun. Burhan Wani was a Hizbul commander. He had photographed himself and his colleagues in army fatigue and automatic weapons. These weapons were not for display as a toy. Obviously, Burhan and his organisation had an action plan. Burhan Wani has been replaced by his colleague as next Hizbul commander for the valley. For Indian state Burhan Wani was a terrorist because he and his organisation wanted to secede from India using force.

Burhan was fighting for freedom of his people. According to Mr. Prem Shankar Jha, Burhan was humiliated by police. So he picked up gun. In India, police is poorly trained, overworked, corrupt, and underpaid. Many Indians are poorly treated by police. Not everyone picks up a gun. It is puzzling what were Burhan and his fellow travellers fighting for, when 

1. The state of Kashmir is a muslim majority state. 
2. Kashmir has its own constitution. 
3. Kashmir enjoys special status within Indian union. People from rest of India cannot settle in Kashmir valley. 
4. In a worst case of ethnic cleansing, Hindus in Kashmir valley were driven out. Many are living in refugee camp in their own country. 
5. Most recently, Kashmir had its free and fair election. People of Kashmir valley had chosen their representative in PDP. Chief Minister of Kashmir is from PDP.  


Aspiration of Burhan Wani and his fellow Kashmiris to get freedom from India may be legitimate. Once one partner decides that a relationship is not working, then separation may be the right way. It is important to know if all people in the valley wants to secede from India? For that to happen, guns must fall silent. Violence must stop. Still, India will never agree to secession of Kashmir for the following reasons:

1.  People in Jammu and Ladakh may want to stay with India. Kashmiri separatists want whole of Jammu and Kashmir to move out of India. Issue of democratic rights and human rights will not count for Hindus living in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 

2. If Kashmir is allowed to leave India, because majority muslim population in Kashmir cannot live with Hindu majority India, the whole idea of India will be at stake. Any region/state/district of India where muslims are a majority, they may want to secede. For example, North Bengal, Lower Assam, Mallapuram in Kerala, Hyderabad, and other areas where Hindus are not majority may want to secede from India. At this rate nothing will remain of India. 

For average Indians, Burhan Wani will remain a terrorist. Because he wanted to break India using violence. Like Naxalites, violence of separatists will be met with police violence.
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