I woke up yesterday to the news of the killing of Junaid Ashraf Sehrai, a prominent commander with Kashmir’s largest dissident group, Hizbul Mujahideen. He was killed alongside his aide by the Indian forces.
During the gun battle, the ruthless Indian forces who have been terrorising the Kashmiris for decades, set ablaze 15 houses and injured many civilians using high-intensity explosives.
Residents told journalists as reported by Aljazeera English and TRTWorld, that Indian soldiers stole jewellery and cash from some houses.
However, many Indian media outfits including Times of India described the late Junaid as a terrorist, who, unlike separatists who prefer joining government jobs or businesses, chose the path of terrorism and became a member of the proscribed outfit in March 2018.
They shamefully didn’t talk about the daylight robbery of residents’ asset, but wrote that, only one residential house caught fire in the operation.
I tried to do a little search of him, because if one is not careful, these days, the media can have people hating the oppressed, and loving the oppressors.
A practical example of this is Hamas, who have been wrongly accused of terrorism by the right wing western media and traitors among the Arabs, for standing for the fundamental rights of Palestinians with the sole aim of liberating Aqsa from the Israeli annexation.
On the contrary, the bloodthirsty Israeli regime, the killers of innocent children have been portrayed by the media as doves, to the extent that many Arab leaders are normalising relationship with the Zionist regime, responsible for the Nakba (the Catastrophe) of Palestinians 72 years ago.
Aside the Israeli media which saw Junaid Ashraf Sehrai as a terrorist, several western/Arab media outlets preferred to use “rebel” or “militant” , alongside Hizbul Mujahideen, struggling to liberate Kashmir from the shackles of India’s oppression.
Ironically, the killings of innocent Kashmiris and the violation of their rights by the Modi-led government of India has never been seen as terrorism. Oh, like the Israelis, the Hindus are the good guys and we, Muslims, are the bad guys!
But the Kashmiris have spoken! Despite the ban on high-speed internet imposed by the Indian government, they already took to the social media to mourn Junaid who many of them believed attained martyrdom. They didn’t fall for the Indian press propaganda that Junaid was a terrorist. In fact, the locals warned the western and Arab media that he wasn’t even a rebel or militant, rather a freedom fighter, who dedicated his life to freedom and liberation of Kashmir.
“He was a great freedom fighter who gave his life for his motherland and so he is not a rebel,” a Kashmiri posted on his Facebook page.
In conclusion, as a believer in the right to self determination and other fundamental rights for every man, with regards to the Kashmir liberation struggle, as it is with Palestine and other crisis ridden parts of the Muslim world, violence against the innocent even among the state sponsors of terrorism, their lackeys and collaborators who are fighting the Muslims should not be justified by any group or movement. Because like the saying goes, every man is equal before Allah and every man is either your brother in faith or your brother in humanity.
▪︎Rasheed Abubakar is the publisher of Muslim News Nigeria