The restive Himalayan region of Kashmir, claimed by two South Asian nations India and Pakistan have fought many wars since 1947 to claim the territory. Both sides are pitted against each other and have been recently as well involved in regular skirmishes across the ceasefire line. While as many perceive the fight for the territory – a former princely state – between the two nuclear nations only hijacking the local stake, at times people in the valley have also launched an indigenous offence against the established socio-political order which later snowballed into a bigger political aspiration. Introducing seven rebels who were prominent in several rebellions in the valley:
1. Burhan Muzaffar Wani:
Born to an affluent village headmaster, Burhan picked up arms when he was merely 15-years-old after he couldn’t bear the atrocities and the humiliation going on in Kashmir. He was one of the first militants from Kashmir to reveal his face and identity on social media, belittling indian forces. Burhan turned out to be a nightmare for security agencies in Kashmir at the same time he became an ‘inspiration’ for Kashmir’s youth living under oppression. His death on 8 July, 2016 led to huge protests.
2. Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan:
Recognize for his role as the first initiator of ‘Kashmir Freedom Movement’, it was the 24- years-old Khan, who led of famous Poonch uprising against the Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh after the Dogra ruler refused to concede to the aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Armed with Indian Army military experience, he raised and commanded 1st AK Battalion that became 6 Battalion Brigade or the“Qayyum Brigade”. It operated in highly strategic zone between Uri and Poonch. ‘In six weeks the whole district except Poonch city itself was in his hands. In response, the Maharaja’s army mounted an offensive in September and October 1947 against Poonchis ‘who had shown some rebellious activities’, and against Muslims in the predominantly Dogra areas of Jammu Province.
From August 1947 that movement lasted for 18 full months till 1st January 1949. the rebellion was halted on the call of the UNO when the ceasefire came into effect. When the volunteer force that was operating in Kashmir was being regularized he was ranked as a Major. But immediately after the ceasefire on the 1st of January he resigned from active service and started his political career from the platform of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference.
3. Abdul Qadeer:
Abdul Qadeer, an associate of Jammal-ud-din Afghani and his adherent of pan-Islamism ideology, came to Kashmir in the garb of a cook, but soon got involved in catalyzing masses with his words. Qadeer asked people to address the root cause of subjugation and deprivation which helped them in provoking transformation of society against then Dogra ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh. His subsequent detention lead to major uprising of 1931 which marks the beginning of Kashmir’s political struggle against the despotic rule.
4. Ghulam Mohammad Bulla:
Like the other natives of Nowhamam of Sopore, Ghulam Mohammad Kar aka Bulla on February 11, 1975 resented the Indira-Abdullah accords that had already evoked mass protest in Kashmir against occupation by Indian troops. He hoisted Pakistani flag in Sopore Chowk as protest against the infamous accord. However, on the same day he was arrested. Taken to Srinagar Central Jail, he was tortured to an extent that after four days he succumbed to his injuries on February 15.
5. Maqbool Bhat:
Often portrayed as the ‘torchbearer’ of independent Kashmir, Maqbool Bhat, was a separatist and co-founder of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. He was in jail for his role against indian rule in Kashmir. Accused of two murder charges he was convicted and hanged on February 11, 1984 in Tihar Jail in New Delhi. Years later JKLF began full-fledged armed movement in 1989 but declared a unilateral ceasefire after four years. The group’s head Yasin Malik now remains a subscriber of Gandhian ideas of nonviolence.
6. Nadeem Khateeb:
Son of a former chief engineer, Nadeem Khateeb, was born in an elite family in Srinagar. A graduate in Geology, Geography and Economics, Nadeem became a commercial pilot in United States after completing his pilot training at a school in Georgia in 1994. But, soon he discarded all material comforts and joined armed movement in Kashmir. Khateeb had joined the militant group Al-Badr for arms training in Kashmir, before crossing the Line of Control. He was killed in Gool area of Udhampur on 22 February 1999.
7. Ashfaq Majeed:
Grown up in the dingy Sarai Balla lanes of Srinagar city, a humble and determined Ashfaq Majeed, was the science student studying at Shri Pratab Higher Secondary School, when he founded Islamic Students League with the help of other likeminded friends. Soon, he rose up in his circle and became area commander of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front in 1988. Often refused to take refuge inside houses he would sleep inside pipes at Idgah on many occasions. However, the incident of March 29, 1990 where eleven people including a child ‘sleeping’ in the lap of his mother were killed by Central Reserve Police Forces in downtown Srinagar. Ashfaq on next day attempted a counter attack at Hawal where he was killed.