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The facebook militants

While Kashmir is under curfew, press is muzzled and internet service suspended, social media gets into top gear to unveil Indian atrocities

The facebook militants

The Kashmir valley is on the boil again. The puppet regime in the valley has suspended the mobile phone service, stopped the publication of newspapers and restricted the cable networks and channels to block the flow of information. But the social media has emerged as powerful tool of information, which has not only exposed the true face of India’s state terrorism in the occupied Kashmir, but also highlighted the Kashmir issue globally.

The trouble started when people thronged the streets in every city and town of the valley in shock and anger over the death in custody of Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani. The man, who was dubbed as “facebook militant” for his efforts to motivate the Kashmiri youth through social media, emerged as the new face of struggle against illegal occupation of Kashmir. He was termed an icon of liberty and a powerful symbol of collective aspirations of the Kashmiris, especially the youth, who were until then unconcerned with the slogan of right to self-determination.

After the Indian media broke the news of Wani’s death as ‘prize’, Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of Indian held Kashmir, tweeted: “Alas Burhan isn’t the 1st to pick up the gun & won’t be the last. The National Conference has always maintained that a political problem needs political solution.”. Barkha Dutt, a prominent Indian journalist retweeted: “agreed”.

When Kashmir is under curfew for the last two week and military and paramilitary forces are patrolling the streets to virtually put down the uprising, press is muzzled and internet service has been suspended, social media is the only source of information to unveil atrocities in Kashmir. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in his several tweets advised: “It’s time India comes out of denial mode and wakes up to reality of Kashmir. The longing freedom In Kashmir will continue.” India has blocked facebook accounts of many pro-Kashmir activists.

Wani was pushed into militancy after he and his brother were thrashed by security personnel on their way home without any reason. He was 15 at the time of incident but was thrown into the dangerous career of militancy where he actively used social media to access and motivate young Kashmiris.

In reaction to the charged atmosphere, the Indian police and security forces failed to exercise restraint and resorted to brutal force to quell the protests, killing at least 50 innocent Kashmiris and wounding hundreds of others. At least 300 people, who were hit by pellets in their eyes, are feared to live the whole of their lives as blind or partially blind. Hospitals are filled with wounded, but there is shortage of doctors and lifesaving drugs. People are put under house arrest as they are not allowed to take even the wounded or sick to hospitals.

The pro-India political parties are now in a quandary, not knowing which way to go. New Delhi has always suppressed Kashmiris by putting gun on the shoulders of their stooges in Sri Nagar. But to implement its vicious agenda of suppression, the Indian clique is now in search of new henchmen as the old faces have lost their credibility both in the eyes of the Kashmiris and New Delhi.

Kashmir is documented as a disputed territory in the United Nations record, but the Indian establishment is obsessed with delusion that it is its integral part. The issue is concerned with human rights and right to self-determination, but emphasis of New Delhi always remained to keep the issue within the domain of territorial dispute. India is a predominantly Hindu country and a sense of estrangement always remained in the heart of New Delhi against predominantly Muslim Sri Nagar. The Indian government always tried to occupy the land of Kashmir by force and lost every opportunity to win the hearts of its inhabitants. The situation has now reached a breaking point.

The Indian security forces are given a legal cover in the form of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act to kill anyone with impunity. The Indian government wants to keep the territory under its control at every cost and thousands of mass graves are evidence of this insane policy.

Some modest and humble voices of dissent and concerns murmur in the Indian media against the genocide in Kashmir, but those are not worthy of attention by the ruling clique in New Delhi. Some human rights activists and civil society members also lodged protests against the situation in Kashmir. At the UN Security Council, India has tried to misguide the world by describing the uprising in Kashmir as its internal issue, putting all the burden and blame of the situation on Pakistan.

However, if the Indian establishment is blind to the demand of Kashmiris, the world is not. People are confined to their homes without water and food. The life has come to a grinding halt, but no process of negotiation has been initiated by the Indian government to improve the situation. Former chief minister Omer Abdullah and current Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti seem to be in hibernation. No word of condemnation has come out of their mouths. They have betrayed their own people over and over again, but the time has come when they will face the wrath of Kashmiris.

Aftab Afzal Ranjha

aftab zain
The writer is a Lahore-based journalist. He may be reached at [email protected]

One comment

  • Now the Indian government is trying to bring normalcy in Valley without apologizing to Kashmiris on the genocide and usurpation of human rights. Shame on India and shame on their sham promises.

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