How We All Killed Burhan!


THREE YEAR OLD Burhan may have been shot dead by unidentified motorcycle borne assailants, but actually it is we who killed him. Ever since our ‘mujahideens’ came back with the Kalashnikov, Kashmir has seen bloodshed of unimaginable proportions. Numerous lives were snuffed out for trivial reasons and we were told that that all these killings were the handiwork of security forces and intelligence agencies. Even though we knew that this was not the truth and that it was our own people who were involved, yet we never raised our voice against these unjustifiable killings. On the contrary, we too joined in the chorus and started blaming others, little realising that by doing so we were only emboldening the killers and it is due to this apathy of ours that Burhan is dead!

Despite the ongoing bloodshed in Kashmir, we have learnt no lessons. Therefore, like always, this time too we have done our duty by observing a hartal on Sunday to protest against the murder of three year old Burhan and with that, the matter is over so we can heave a sigh of relief as we don’t have any burden on our conscience. Hurriyat (G) chairman SAS Geelani too has done what he always does in such situations- promptly giving a clean chit to militants and blaming “government-sponsored gunmen.” While what Geelani sahib may be saying could well be true, but it doesn’t behoove a person of his stature to jump to conclusions within hours of the incident and either implicate or exonerate someone when serious investigations haven’t even started!

To the Hurriyat (G) chairman, the murderous attack on Bashir Ahmad in which his three year old son Burhan was also shot “seems like practical execution of the statement of Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar wherein he talked about fighting terrorism with terrorism.” While Geelani sahib has attempted to establish a link to this killing, the analogy he has used does not correlate to the situation. For one, while Burhan’s father had been an erstwhile militant in the early nineties, he had quit militancy after serving a three year jail sentence and was living a normal life thereafter. Thus, there was no reason for “government-sponsored gunmen” to have targeted him. 

Moreover, even if the ‘government agencies’ really wanted to kill Ahmad then they could have easily done so without any risk of detection by simply entering his house in the middle of the night and killing him while the whole world was sound asleep. It would be really foolish on our part to expect that the ‘government agencies’ would send its “sponsored gunmen” to kill Ahmad at a time when the area was teeming with people returning from the local mosque after offering Maghrib prayers and thus run the grave risk of their being caught. Here it is not intended to give any ‘clean chit’ to the government and intelligence ‘agencies’ or to declare militants guilty of these murders as it is yet too early to do so but only to highlight the pitfalls of hastily jumping to conclusions. 

When Geelani sahib called for a hartal on Sunday to protest against these killings, how could we expect JKLF chairman Yasin Malik to just sit back and stay out of the limelight? He has announced that he would go on a daylong hunger strike “to urge international community to act and protest this killing spree in Kashmir.” Unfortunately, by saying that “Growing incidents of mysterious killings are a conspiracy to damage Kashmir’s freedom struggle,” Malik too has subscribed to the patent ‘conspiracy theory’ of the Hurriyat without furnishing any proof. 

The JKLF chairman also seems to have lost faith in the investigative capabilities of United Jihad Council Chief and Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Sallahudin (whom he had requested to probe the spate of killings that shook Sopore in May) as he now wants the international community to probe these killings.  Forgive my saying so Malik sahib, but the “government-sponsored gunmen” allegation has been made so often and so many times ever since Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq was assassinated in 1990 that it has not taken seriously by anyone today!

Burhan’s only fault was that he was born in Kashmir where we have a habit of preaching morality and upholding truth but find excuses not to do so ourselves. Even though it might sound offensive, but the truth is that the reaction of the separatists to the death of the three year old Burhan is something really shameful. This is because our leaders have intentionally chosen to treat the death of someone so young not as a horrifying human tragedy that requires immediate remedial actions to prevent any recurrence but as something to make a political issue out of. 

And so, we come back to where we started- ‘Burhan’s’ would continue being gunned down in Kashmir, our leaders would continue blaming “government-sponsored gunmen” for these killings and we would continue observing hartals and participating in protests. Now at least you would agree that it was not the unidentified motorcycle borne gunmen but all of us who actually killed Burhan?

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