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Enemies in Life, But Buried in the Same Graveyard Featured

October 02

On July 18 2016, a village in far Southern Kashmir hit the headlines of newspaper in Jammu Kashmir after three people had been shot dead in the locality by Army men. The Villagers playing cricket on a curfew day were all thrashed by army followed by a protest in the area and suddenly came the sounds of unprecedented army shooting, and people ran and ran. It was later found out that Showkat Ahmed Itoo a local resident had been shot along with two other locals from the locality. More than 90 civilians were shot dead during the uprising post the killing of Burhan Wani on 08 July, 2016.

Kashmir witnessed a political uncertainty following the uprising that was dealt with brute force, when thousands of civilians were maimed and tens of thousands injured. The Government forces unabated use of pellet guns blinded hundreds of civilians and hundreds were booked under the draconian Public Safety Act, however the resistance camp was not able to come up with something concrete during the uprising or post it. “A sense of failure that prevailed post the uprising among youth who had been solely involved in 2016 uprising forced them to take up alternative measures of “resistance,” observed many prominent analysts. Moreover the atrocities against the youth and then the glorification of death in the name of ‘Shahdat’ have been additional reasons to local youth rejoining militancy. The nail in the coffin was set when Indian army declared ‘All out’ against Kashmir Militancy, as Yashwant Singh mentioned after his Kashmir visit, “India has lost Kashmir Emotionally.” But the operation all out on the other side worked for the Indian state, more than 130 militants were killed post the launching of operation which included feared commanders such as Bashir Lashkar, Abu Dujana and Majid Zargar. Down South, the districts that once witnessed a massive electoral is now on the brink of explosion with the mammoth size of militant funerals, Stone throwing during encounters, During Cordon and Search Operations and the growing sympathy for militants.

On 10th of July, a Video was issued in which Bashir Lashkar, the lasshkar commander for Islamabad (Anantnag) District issued a warning to the local policemen to not be a part of anti militancy operations. He gave a lesson though, “We have to live, die and be buried  in the same soil, Why be enemies.” A not so new trend was revived in Kashmir post that when 5 Local Policemen including a local inspector, Feroz Ahmed Dar were shot dead. It was told that Bashir Lashkar was responsible for the killings. Post the killing of Bashir on Ist july, Militants became a soft target for the Government forces, militants were hunted down here, there and everywhere. So pertinently, the militancy looked for fresh air like the early 90s and then as told by security agencies, men of Jaish e Muhammad crossed over and might hit security bases throughout Kashmir.


On 26 August this year, we in Kashmir opened over Tv Sets to the news that militants had stormed into District Police Lines in Pulwama District in South Kashmir. The operation to hunt down militants ended only after more than 2 hours and after 8 troopers had been shot dead. Among the slain cops was Imtiyaz Ahmed Sheikh. Imtiyaz, 35 was the first one to be killed that day. Imtiyaz a resident of the same village in Qazigund in Churath is survived by a wife, a son and a daughter who suffers from a neurological disorder. Imtiyaz was posted as a Personal Security Officer of Assistant Superintendent of Police in Pulwama District. “He got a call from his officer asking him to be ready as they have to leave, Omar Abdullah was visiting Pulwama that day,” said Reyaz Ali bhat, Brother-in-law of Imtiyaz.

“He had been working in the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Police Department since 2006 and never in his life did he receive even a single threat from the locals when cops were openly being asked to leave the Police Jobs. Imtiyaz even attended the funeral of the three civilians killed last year during the civilian uprising here in Churath,” his wife told The Kashmiriyat.

“I personally feel that SOG is considered synonyms to brutality in Kashmir, however, he was a complete antonym, never in his life had he harassed any individual. He was a Kashmiri and he had taken the job, because he did not want his family to starve, was that his crime? Or his crime was he was a good Kashmiri son?” asks his brother, Aijaz Ahmed. He tells that he had spent a lot of money to save his father who as suffering from a kidney disorder before he died in 2016.

“He left the room after the call and then suddenly within moments we heard bullet sounds, we went down to find Imtiyaz lying dead in the pool of blood, his body pierced with bullets. That is all I remember,” his wife said.

The funeral prayers of Imtiyaz were attended by hundreds of civilians from the Churath locality and later he was laid to rest in the nearby graveyard. He was buried in a graveyard where the three civilians who were killed in 2016 uprising were laid to rest. I found his grave just next to Showkat Ahmed Itoo who was allegedly killed while throwing stones on the Government forces.

Hundreds visit the graveyard out of curiosity or in protest of the pain and the lost lives and the ultimate reminder of death. In Britain it is common to see, war cemetaries contain German graves, there are no germans here and nobody is even English in the graveyard. Though here,The same kind of stone which was carved by the same shopkeeper with the same Quranic verses firmed on the graves. Decades Ago Captain Callaghan transcended the American-Japanese chasm to recognize a common humanity, a defining patriotism, a shared idealism in this potential killer who, ultimately, was just a dead kid.

Even today, friends and family have trouble grasping the fact that the two are dead now. “It is painful to see these two guys, who challenged themselves and each other’s cause now they have to lie besides each other for eternity.” The myth of soldiers of the Great War being bitter enemies on the battlefield but comrades in death thus has some genuine resonance here.

An elderly man near the graveyard, Ghulam Hassan Khan who sells cattle expresses deep anguish and dissatisfaction over the political discourse developing in Kashmir. He is unhappy to see Kashmiri youth going to the encounter sites, “Suicide” he calls it. He says it was too painful to see irony dying a thousand deaths. “A protestor and the one whom he was protest against had to be buried side by side. We have to live, die and be buried in the same soil, Why be enemies. Why should the fight be Kashmiri against a Kashmiri? ” he asks.

The fundamental question that comes to mind when visiting this graveyard is for how long do young people of Kashmir have to make such a terrible sacrifice and keep fighting against eachother ? When the individual destinies of everyone is the same soil, they are buried under the same words, the same headstone.

Read 426 times Last modified on Saturday, 20 January 2018 20:25
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