The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was slain along with two of his associates in an encounter with the government forces at Duroo, Kokarnag, in South Kashmir's Anantnag district on July 8, afternoon. Militants kill and get killed in encounters is a routine in Kashmir since 1989. When a militant gets killed, people as usual participate in his funeral in thousands and raise pro-Islam and pro-freedom slogans. It is often seen that after the funeral ding dong battles take place for sometime between the protesters and armed forces. Then the Rasm-e-Chaharum of slain militant is observed where resistance leaders usually address the gathering. This marks the end of the event.
In Burhan Wani's case, it was quite different. Soon after the news about the killing of Burhan Wani broke out, the whole Valley erupted. People particularly belonging to South Kashmir began to make it to Sharief Abad, Tral— his (Burhan's) native village. Sensing danger, the government announced curfew in south Kashmir and various areas of district Srinagar. Despite the curfew and other restrictions, people came out on the streets in large numbers and violent protests spilled over to almost all the areas of Valley. Amidst these restrictions and violence two people lakh reportedly joined the funeral of Burhan Wani—a record attendance of people in a funeral since 1990. Lakhs of other people later on also participated in the Nimaz-e-Jinaza Gaibana ( funeral prayers in absentia ) of Burhan organized at hundreds of places across the Valley. In short millions of people across Valley participated in his funeral prayers. By the time Burhan's funeral was offered on Saturday afternoon, the civilian death toll had risen to 12 and around 200 persons were reportedly injured in south Kashmir in police firing at different places.
In next four days the number of killings reached around 40 and those of injured reached over 1600 with about 100 persons losing their eyesight due to pellet injuries. The situation worsened so much that the world human rights bodies expressed serious concern and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon issued statement asking for restraint. Over eight days have now passed since Burhan's killing but the curfew continues to be in force. Apprehending escalation in violence after Friday prayers, the government enforced strict curfew restrictions in almost whole Valley on July 15, forcing people stay indoors. People at various places were stopped from offering Friday prayers in mosques.
In short Burhan's killing had a ripple effect, bringing to fore the realty that Kashmiris are with anyone who espouses and fights for their cause—- the right to self-determination.
Amidst these crises and mayhem everywhere, the people of Kashmir demonstrated an exemplary humanitarian gesture by providing all sorts of help to the injured undergoing treatment in different hospitals. People rushed to hospitals in droves to offer their blood and other sort of help, both in cash and kind, to the injured. The people living in the vicinities of all hospitals set up community kitchens to provide food to the injured and their attendants. Not only this, people in Bijebahara on July 13, in a humanitarian gesture risked their lives amidst curfew restrictions to save the lives of Amarmanth pilgrims who had sustained injuries in a fatal road accident on the highway near Sangam. They ferried all the injured to a nearby hospital. Pertinently, the driver of the mini-bus and a pilgrim died in the accident. Unfortunately, the Delhi based electronic media did not give any coverage to this incident perhaps for the reason that it would highlight the humanitarian gesture and hospitality of Kashmiris and their respect for all human beings irrespective of their religion, caste, creed and colour. Now that agitation is still going on and no one can at this point time of time say how long it would continue, the greater responsibility devolves on New Delhi to douse the flames for good. It (government of India) needs to take some sincere and effective steps to address the real problem. Unless New Delhi comes out with a meaningful strategy to address the internal and external dimensions of Kashmir issue, agitations like 2008, 2016 and now 2016 would continue to take place in Jammu Kashmir and Burhan like boys will also continue to appear on the scene. The cosmetic measures, patch works and repressive methods and policies will in no way help improve the situation. New Delhi should also understand that the mainstream politicians and parties have hardly any role to play in cooling the tempers and restoring peace under such situations. We see the MLAs including the chief minister and ministers, who claim to be the representatives of people, do not dare to come out of their houses to meet people in their respective constituencies, let alone putting in their efforts to restore normalcy. Till date they have chosen to remain ensconced in their cocoons.