LAHORE: Go to the southern villages in Indian-held Kashmir and they will tell you stories about Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander who was martyred by security forces four years ago today.
Wani — a resident of Tral, south of Kashmir — was martyred along with two associates by the Indian troops in a staged encounter in Kokernag town on July 8.
His martyrdom had triggered a sustained wave of violent protests that claimed the lives of at least 100 civilians.
In death, Wani became something that India has long feared ─ a homegrown freedom fighter openly lionised across the embattled region, a powerful symbol against Indian occupation who has united IHK’s many factions.
In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, mass public rallies and demonstrations have been organised to pay tribute to Wani.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) said they would stage protests across the occupied valley to convey a message to the world, particularly the United Nations, that the people of the disputed valley completely reject forcible occupation of their land.
In Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, a special prayer meeting will be held for Wani and his martyred companions.
Hurriyat leaders and organisations, while paying tributes to Wani, said that he symbolises the unrelenting resistance of the Kashmiri people who are waging a struggle for the right to self-determination for more than seven decades, Kashmir Media Service reported.