For the fear of uprising
It looks as if Burhan Wani’s funeral four years back and the ensuing ‘Kashmir Intifada’ still give New Delhi the creeps. Wani, a young freedom fighter, was martyred on July 8, 2016 and the uprising did not die down for as long as eight months. That is why the Indian authorities are now refusing to turn over the bodies of freedom fighters and possibly even innocent bystanders martyred by security forces in Occupied Kashmir, and burying them secretly.
A bombshell report by Kashmir Media Service says that instead of handing over the bodies to their families for mourning and burial, Indian authorities “have started quietly burying the bodies of local youth at faraway places in unmarked graves, under the supervision of a magistrate in order to avoid massive participation of the locals in the funerals of the martyrs”. While 14 Kashmiris have been martyred by the Indian occupation forces over the last five days, the KSM report identifies at least four young men whose bodies have been buried secretly. All four are said to have been martyred on April 22 in an incident in Shopian district, and buried in a government-managed graveyard the same day.
The world has seen the massive turnouts at funeral processions for countless young men, like Wani. Reverberating with thunderous anti-India slogans, these funerals demonstrated enduring passion for freedom. Pretty clearly, the Indian authorities are afraid that funerals of the martyred youth could further incite anti-India sentiments, which may erupt into another 2016-like uprising against India in Occupied Kashmir. And in a bid to avoid protests against their oppressive policies and the killing of innocents, they have chosen to stop letting victims mourn their dead. More virulent, of course, is the question of whether or not India is even allowing proper funeral rites to be performed for the victims.
There is much that could be said here, but we must hold back and just hope that it is untrue. India may not have respect for the living, but there is a certain universality about respect for the dead. It is part of the humanity that binds us all. We hope that, at least here, the Indian authorities managed to do the bare minimum expected of another human being.
Exit Sana Mir
A glittering career comes to an end. Sana Mir, a former captain of Pakistan’s women cricket team, hanged up her boots last Saturday after a successful career spanning 15 years during which she played 226 international matches — 120 ODIs and 106 T20s. She led Pakistan in 137 games, including those played as part of two ODI World Cups and five T20 World Cups. Mir has been a part of great success stories for women’s cricket. She led Pakistan to two Asiad golds in 2010 and 2014. The former skipper remains the highest wicket-taking off-spinner among international women cricketers. She is the only Pakistani woman to have occupied the number one spot, in the year 2018. The 36-year-old is among a very few women cricketers to have taken 100 wickets and scored 1,000 runs in ODIs.
Mir is no stranger to awards either, having been decorated with the Pakistani medal of excellence known as Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, besides winning the People’s Choice Award at the Pakistan Sports Awards. A genuine role model for women, Mir was also recognised by the Asia Society last year as an inspiring agent of change working to building a better world. She was honoured alongside other inspiring global leaders Yuriko Koike, Japan’s first female defence minister; China’s Jane Jie Sun, the leader of a $25 billion worth of travel company where women form half the workforce; and Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi of the UAE, a pioneer in the world of art who has tirelessly promoted greater cultural understanding and exchange in the Middle East and around the world.
As described by the PCB chief executive, Mir has been “the face of Pakistan women’s cricket for many years and a real source of inspiration for the young generation of women cricketers”. In a country where there is absence of proper sporting infrastructure and where women’s participation in sports is stigmatised, Mir’s achievement deserves a lot of praise.