‘Stone pelting, militancy response to what people of Kashmir are undergoing every day’
On the second death anniversary of Burhan Wani, his father Muzaffar Ahmad Wani talks to Greater Kashmir correspondent Irfan Amin Malik. Excerpts
It has been two years since your son Burhan Wani died. What have you seen changing in Jammu and Kashmir since his death?
Everybody knows Jammu and Kashmir has seen a complete change after Burhan's death. It is apparent how young boys are increasingly picking up guns during last two years. I think it is because every day people especially young boys are harassed, tortured and detained due to which they push themselves to militancy. I can only blame government for this situation. Being a teacher I don't shy away from saying that 'to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.'
What has changed in your family?
After we lost Khalid and Burhan our whole family began to feel health problems. We all are suffering from hypertension and depression. Every day we take medicine to cure depression. For us their martyrdom is like a sweet poison. On the one side we are glad to see them as martyrs but on the other we miss them badly.
How many people you expect will join Burhan's death anniversary?
Look I have not invited anyone on his anniversary but people from nooks and corners of the Valley still come to pay tributes to him. It is not just on his anniversary that people do come to our residence. Throughout the year people come to our residence and pay tributes to my son.
If government will allow you to observe Burhan's death anniversary, what special will you do on this day?
Nothing special, we would keep it very simple as it is. I would go to Eidgah where my beloved son Burhan is buried and I would do Fateha Khawni for him. At my residence I would also tell the guests and visitors to confine his anniversary to prayers and homage.
How your wife and daughter are coping with this pain?
They remember Burhan on every single day. Our whole family sits together in the kitchen every night to see the photos and videos of both Burhan and Khalid. We cannot sleep unless we see their photos and kiss their pictures. We draw a great relief by watching them every night.
Did you ever visit Bamdoora Kokernag, the place where Burhan and his associates were killed?
Yes, last year I had gone there with my staff members. Actually, we were on a picnic to Kokernag when I visited that place. I also went to the house where Burhan was killed. I had an interaction with the house owner and local residents. As per them Burhan and his associates had come on the same day when they were killed.
On 8 July 1996, you migrated from your ancestral village Naibugh to main town Tral for better education and better future of your children? At this juncture, how do you look upon that decision?
I am satisfied with what Allah has given to me. Whatever Allah does, does right. I rather feel grateful to Allah for choosing me the father of two martyrs. I am optimistic that the martyrdom of both Burhan and Khalid will help me and my family to enter the paradise.
What do you think has made Burhan so popular a militant?
I think it is Allah who has bestowed him so much grace and respect that he not only was admired by Muslims but also by Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. During last two years thousands of people from Kashmir and different countries have visited our residence. They came to see Burhan's home, his parents and his graveyard. Hundreds of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians met me and they always say that they have a great regard for Burhan.
As a teacher and as father of Burhan, how do you see the recent statement of Indian army chief major general Bipin Rawat in which he said that poor education in Kashmir entails stone pelting and militancy?
Being a school principal I reject his statement. We have fine schools in Kashmir which produce doctors, engineers, journalists and entrepreneurs. The stone pelting and militancy has nothing to do with education. Stone pelting and militancy depicts anger, and are response to what people of Kashmir are undergoing every day. The truth is that people like Dr Rafi, Dr Manan Wani and Er Basit are picking up guns. Government instead of hiding the truth should address the root cause to resolve the Kashmir dispute according to the aspirations of people.