Burhan Muzaffar Wani is a heroic rebel who has been resisting the Indian state in Jammu and Kashmir in the mesh of Tral’s forests. Wani took up militancy when he and his brother were harassed by the Indian Army. He has, since then, been causing the Indian authority a lot of grief. He has given thousands of army personnel sleepless nights.

A few months ago, his brother was killed by Indian forces. “His head was smashed and teeth broken. There was no bullet injury on his body. He was tortured to death,” Muzaffar Wani told reporters.

Some time ago, a video of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a well-known wanted rebel, was circulating on the internet, in which Burhan and his companions were seen wearing the army uniform and carrying the famous gun AK-47 in their arms.

The video caught international attention, and in parts of India people accused them of terrorist activities. Some called them traitors, and chastised them for spreading terrorism on the land known for its natural beauty. For that section of Indian society, they were terrorists

However, as the infamous Gerald Seymour has said, “Someone’s terrorist is another’s martyr”. For the people of Kashmir, they are “mujahideen”, who are fighting for a cause, for the oppressed people.

The 'true patriots' of India can call them traitors or terrorists but it carries no hard feeling for the patriot born on the land illegally occupied by India. No wonder that they, in general, blame the people of Kashmir for supporting terrorism and terrorists. It has never put us off, as we believe they too were given the same name, when they were under the British rule.

Wani’s struggle is reminiscent of an Indian’s struggle who continues to live on in the pages of history: Bhagat Singh. He took up arms against British imperialism and was considered as a miscreant by the British rulers. The local Indians, however, revered him as a hero.

Burhan, in his video, called upon the youth of Kashmir to join them. He ardently stated that they were in a state of war with India, and now their tolerance was waning.

He said, “We should unite for the sake of our motherland which has been oppressed for the last 60 years.”

When Indian media took notice of it, they carried the horrific headlines for them. They called them ISI agents sponsored by Pakistan to abrupt peace in Valley.

In the videos, we saw a group of young and educated boys from Kashmir who joined Burhan in his freedom cause. They believe that they, one day, will achieve martyrdom and will be remembered by the coming generations of Kashmir. This may sound absurd to many people but in places like Palestine and Kashmir, this feeling reverberates through every street.

In the southern part of Kashmir, known as a hotbed for rebels, every month a young, educated boy is joining jihadist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen to fight against the Indian army. The Indian forces are adopting new strategies to tackle the situation but they haven’t been successful, with Kashmiris sacrificing their kith and kin for their cause. The Pulwama district, in the southern part of Kashmir, is especially known for it.

There is a famous saying in Kashmir: if Kashmir gets freedom, then the 1st place which will achieve it will be Tral, a small hamker of Pulwama.  Tral is an Islamic place, a hub of Jamat-e-Islami, where each house can boast of a martyr. There is another saying: not a single day goes by which could be commemorated as a bloodless day in the history of Tral.

In several encounters with the Indian military, some of Wani’s friends were eliminated and were given dignified funerals by the people of Kashmir. The overwhelming response by people on the funeral compels many people to fight for the Kashmir cause. Amidst sobs and cries, people shouted anti-India slogans.

It is interesting to note that Israel, despite bombarding the life out of Palestine, has not been called a terrorist nation. Similarly, the Paris attacks led to a global outrage, but French bombing in Syria is largely left out of humanitarian discourse. There are no hashtags for collateral damage.

Moreover, the world has not raised its voice in unison against the Bijbehara massacre, the Gaw Kadal massacre, Chattisinghpora massacre and the list goes on. The brides were raped, the grooms were killed but nobody across the world uttered a single word regarding this. My words may be harsh but the tragedies like Kunan Poshpora sparks fire in my blood.

The people of Kashmir do not need any ulterior reason to join guerrilla war. Tragedies like Kunan Pushpora (mass rape) push them to join in a fight against India and its army. The young guns of Kashmir, when they face the armed brutality, shift their career opportunity and join rebel organizations. I have hundreds of stories to narrate of how army has killed innocent people in the name of terrorism. The brutality by them at several places like Tral, Trehgam, Sopore,  Kupwara push people to retaliate back against the action done by Indian army.

Wani endured horrific brutality, which motivates him to oppose the Indian occupation. He inspires bravery in the young guns of Kashmir. Recently, a 10th grader, known as “Newton of Tral” has joined his movement. The young boys believe only on one thing, “Freedom is never given by oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed”.

Although the people of Kashmir are ready to demand their freedom by using whatever means available, they do not want conflict. The suffocating presence of the Indian Army, however, will not allow peace to prevail in the region. What Kashmir needs is a solution that is bred out of inclusive politics, not hostile militarism.