Srinagar: The picture of the bruised eye of a pellet-victim, who has emerged as the poster boy of the prevalent “humanitarian crises” in Kashmir, looked conspicuous on the hoardings signifying commencement of the month of Muharram in the restive Valley.
His picture on the black and red banners, alongside verses paying glowing tributes of Karbala Martyrs, was enough to suggest that Muharram is not the same this year.
The commencement of Islamic new year which also coincides with the Martyrdom anniversary of Hazrat Imam-e-Hussain AS and his companions in the battlefield of Karbala, was “never so before” in Kashmir. Observers said it didn’t happen “even during the early 1990s when militancy was at its peak.”
This year, the Muharram banners have drawn parallels between Kashmir and Karbala, at least for the people protesting against rights abuse in this Valley in the Himalayas.
The banners equating “oppression in Kashmir” with Karbala have come up across various streets including the major roads in the summer capital.
It is for the third time during the ongoing unrest, which erupted on July 8, in the wake of killing of militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and his two colleagues, that protesters have compared Kashmir with Karbala.
Earlier in July, while holding a peaceful demonstration at the Mushtaq Memorial Press Enclave here, a civil rights group had called a candle light vigil which signified a glowing-slogan: Karbala in Kashmir. The protests were held against the rights abuse.
Thereafter Kashmir Inc made a similar remark in a statement to condemn the “government aggression” on the people.
Observers opine that Kashmir witnessed its “worst- ever humanitarian crises” this summer, something which is making people find match to such episodes in the history.
“Just that Karbala has been seen as the worst tragedy, which leaves any human eye moist, people irrespective of religious, political or individual ideologies, across the world have often drawn parallels of their miseries with this historic event,” said a Kashmir University teacher asking not to be named.
As of now, the social media is equally flooded with posts on comparison between the Valley and the historic battle, which took place some 1400 years ago.
Syed Shahriyar Hussainy, a photo journalist posted on his wall: “A Muharram Banner is hoisted on an entrance of a Shia Muslim locality in old city Srinagar with writing "Imam Hussain(A.S) Inspiration to Mankind” to condemn all oppression and Injustice with A picture of A pellet victim… during the Ongoing Uprising in Kashmir that has killed more than 90 people since July 8.”
In the last three months alone, at least 91 persons were killed and 12,344 wounded. Around 1000 of them lost eyesight to the use of pellet guns by government forces.
While initially Kashmir witnessed longest ever 52 day curfew, over 7,000 youth have been arrested. And, around 500 of them booked under PSA.
On October 7, when a 12-year-old schoolboy was killed in action by government forces his family said “It is Karbala.”
The government on the other hand blames the separatists for the unrest saying they provoke innocent children to attack security forces.
While the government has launched a massive crackdown against separatist leaders, the administration says efforts are on to restore peace and prosperity in the state.
The government is hopeful to restore law and order in the Valley and has been appealing the people to maintain peace.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.