Burhan Wani became the new metaphor for “freedom or martyrdom” four years ago yesterday. The protests and strikes on both sides of the border on his death anniversary speak volumes about Kashmiris’ struggle for self-determination. Burhan Wani’s legacy four years after his death is that Kashmiris have become more determined to fight and overthrow the Indian occupation by every means necessary. However, India, the largest democracy—in fact, the largest sham democracy—has been ignoring the voices of Kashmiris and their calls to decolonise Kashmir.

Four years on, while Kashmir is still reeling from Wani’s death, not much has changed in the repressive attitude of the Indian state. With the brutal occupation regime that India is imposing on Kashmir, it has become even more evident that New Delhi can neither occupy by force nor by legal mechanisation, which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is keen on implementing in Kashmir. Despite the Modi government’s constant boasts that it has brought normalcy to the valley, Kashmir’s killing fields say otherwise. Kashmir remains volatile even after hundreds of deaths in the last few years and oppressive measures to quell the dissent.

Burhan Wani did not die in vain, because his murder was a catalyst that has exposed the real face of the Indian armed forces in the years since. The calls for strikes and protests to mark Wani’s death anniversary show that the new generation of Kashmir is ready to face bullets and die, as long as the generations after them are free from the yoke of Indian state-terrorism. The carrot and stick policy of the Modi government is not working at all in the valley. Today, many Kashmiris support those who believe in the efficacy of a military struggle against India’s illegal occupation of their homeland.