Crowds flock to see the body of Abu Qasim (Image via Hassan Raza)
Thousands of people turned out today in Indian Administered Kashmir for the funeral of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Abdul Rehman (Abu Qasim) from Bahawalpur city, Pakistan who was killed during a shoot-out with Indian security forces. There were protests on the streets with stones thrown, scuffles breaking out and teargas used to control the crowds. This comes just days after Black Day (27th October) in which much of Kashmir closes down to remember the year of Partition. On the same date in 1947, Indian troops entered Jammu and Kashmir and commenced decades of occupation accused of denying locals their rights. The military is alleged to have participated in ongoing human rights abuses which saw people disappeared, tortured and killed. To Indian authorities Rehman (age 30) is a “terrorist”, to many Kashmiris he is a “shaheed” (martyr) who fought for their rights and independence from India. Some Kashmiris want to join with Pakistan others aim for complete independence.
Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani, the chief of police in IAK said “Abu Qasim was the most-wanted militant in Kashmir, which India and Pakistan claim in full but rule in part” As Express Tribune reported Gillani called the operation a “major success”. He claimed Mr. Rehman’s killing was a “major setback” for the organization (LeT) in Kashmir. However as militants are often keen to point out, drone strikes in neighbouring Afghanistan and Pakistan have shown that jihadi movements are greater than any one personality and deaths of key figures are anticipated and planned for as part of their overall strategies.
Abdul Rehman (Abu Qasim) “Dear India, You Killed one
#AbuQasim today and created 10000 more! Sincere Thanks!” posted by SalaaR
“Theory of someone’s terrorist being someone’s brave heart proven again in
#Kashmir, where Lashkar is India’s death!” posted by SalaaR
According to Benar News Rehman was killed in the vicinity of Khandaypora, a village near Kulgam town after a tip-off was received. The militant commander who was said to have a bounty on his head of 20 lacs was alleged to have carried out a number of attacks against Indian security forces in the Kashmir Valley in recent years including an attack on an army bus in 2013 which left 8 soldiers dead. His name was synonymous with LeT who are accused of involvement in the attack on Mumbai in 2008 during which 160 people were killed. According to NDTV, Rehman was also
“involved in the killing of Altaf Ahmad, one of the best counter-terrorism police officers in Jammu and Kashmir, earlier this month in a gunbattle in Bandipore district. Police say Mr Ahmad, along with two colleagues, was on a covert mission in the district to track down Qasim.”
Hafiz Talha Saeed, Lecturer and Researcher, highlighted the size of the crowds that turned out for the funeral saying, “if Jihad e Kashmir is terrorism, how would you define this extreme glorious love for its Mujahid by Kashmiris?”
Syed Ali Geelani, APHC Chairman, Chairman Tehreek-e-Hurriyat tweeted,
‘Geelani sb has called for a million march towards the Srinagar’s TRC on the eve of Indian PM’s proposed visit to
#Kashmir on 7th Nov’ APHC
Sea of people gathered to get the glimpse of their beloved hero shaheed Abu qasim in Kulgam.
Thousands of people, including women, join the procession as Mujahid Abu Qasim’s body is taken for burial to a graveyard in Bugam village of south Kashmir on Thursday.
“Thinkers, analysts, researchers who suggest
#Kashmir is a lost cause, should see the color of Jihad in valley today” posted by SalaaR
One student from the region that I talked to earlier this week highlighted that little had changed in Kashmir, he stated the following, left for me in a message as stated,
“Situation is grim these days…there is a sense of fear in every nook and corner…u cant move out of ur home after 7pm… u fear of being beaten or killed by the Indian forces…this is nothing….the situation has worsened…. u are sometimes afraid of wearing ur traditional dress…the reason is obvious…there are marks of torture on everybody and there is a victim in every house… there r half-widows and there are homes without people…u will hear cries and moans of the mothers who have lost their kids…u will see revenge on every teenager’s face…u will see the women and teenagers fighting together with the forces on the roads…u will see the elders carrying the coffin of children…u will see the outburst and hear the slogans…u will see the engineering graduates, doctors, scholars taking arms to fight for all the injustice…. and u will see media barking against them and favouring atrocities…there are many things to tell, many stories to be told, many incidents and many marks to show…there are scars, there is a pain, there is anguish….This is paradise for u….This is Kashmir for u…This is the region of unending miseries for u….”
“Defining moments in
#Kashmir thousands youth undettered by decades of oppression! Indians, sitting on a volcano” posted by SalaaR
“Most Wanted LeT Commander Abu Qasim dies in Kulgam gunfight”
“State of Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir 2015”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.