An engineering student & an avid blogger Basit Ahmad Dar, who had joined militancy in October 2016, was killed by security forces on 14 December 2016. His last blog gives an insight into his thinking a few months before he picked up the gun

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|| RIYAZ KHAN

                    In October 2016 Basit Ahmad Dar went missing from his home in Marhama village of Anantnag district. His father finally gave up the search for his son when the news was broken to his that Basit, an engineering student from Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora, had joined militancy. Barely two months later, Basit in his early twenties, was killed by forces near Bewoora village in south Kashmir. Soon afterwards, a photograph went viral on social media showing his body lying in an open ground with a part of his head had been blown off. A blogger, Basit had joined militancy at the height of the summer uprising in Kashmir. He was a B Tech student at the Islamic University of Science and Technology. His last blog titled ‘Yes, This is Kashmir” that was posted by him on June 30 gives us an insight about his thinking just months before he had decided to join the militant ranks. “What are you doing here?” He questioned. I was not able to understand what to say so I remained silent. Again he said but now with different tone “what are you doing here?” I said, “I am just enjoying the creation of Almighty”. “Show me the identity card”, he asked but with the eyes turning red with anger. I asked myself, “What…?? For enjoying nature we need an identity card.” “What is identity card?” But there was no response from any part. He then asked me to get up and begin to beat me like I was drum being beaten on someone’s marriage.

              I started to resist but few more men with same costume came and also started to beat me. “What is my crime?” I started crying. …My back was full of pain and the pain was clearly visible on my face. He then gave me some painkillers, followed by salted tea. After an hour or so I was feeling better. Then after some general chit chat, the question session began. The man said, “Where are you from?” “I am from the country known as LAND OF PEACE.” “What is your name?” the question followed. “My name is HUMANITY.” Now I asked, “Who were the people that were beating me?” “Men in uniform,” the man replied. Again I questioned “Why were they beating me?” “They were not beating you they were just relaxing their muscles,” a young boy from corner with anger in his eyes nearly shouted. Basit’s tragic end symbolizes the tragedy of today’s Kashmir, especially of its youth. Since the killing of Burhan dozens of local youth have gone missing from their homes, most of them from South Kashmir and have reportedly joined the militants, a trend described as worrying by the security agencies. At the same time however since November 2016, at least a dozen local youth who had picked up the guns have been killed in encounter with the security forces. In the first six months of 2016, before the current unrest began in the wake of the killing of the popular Hizb commander Burhan Wani on 8 July, 84 militants, mostly local youth, died in gunfights with security personnel. According to J&K police, 60-70 youth have gone missing since the current turmoil began. Most of them are apprehended to have joined the militant ranks, a fact also borne out by the new militant videos on social media which have shown some new faces. An avid reader, Dar started a blog last year where he described himself as a painter, writer and an explorer of new things. In his first blog post, published last year on 26 December, ‘Saz loung, the traditional Kashmiri sport or hopscotch,’ he lamented the death of Kashmiriyat in the face of “Westernization”.

His last blog titled ‘Yes, This is Kashmir” that was posted by him on June 30 gives us an insight about his thinking just months before he had decided to join the militant ranks.

             “The Kashmiri culture has lost its glory in Kashmir… As per my thoughts, in next few years, Kashmiri culture will be seen in museum’s only,” Basit wrote in the concluding paragraphs of his blog post. A native of Marhama village nears Bijbehara, which falls in the constituency of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Basit belonged to a well-off family. His father is a banker. Basit’s blog is also an insight about the perception among Kashmiri youth about injustice they face at the hands of security forces and state government in their day to day life. In his last blog Basit wrote about the sufferings of a person who was allegedly beaten by security forces for not carrying his identity card and he wrote about the people who helped the person regain consciousness and how they tried to ascertain his identity. The man said, “Where are you from?” “I am from a country known as the LAND OF PEACE”. “What is your name,” the question followed. “My name is HUMANITY.” “Why is the water of rivers red?” “It is not water, it is the blood of the martyred innocent youths,” the man answered. Then a young lady began narrated her story: “This is the place where a person leaves his home for earning but never comes back. Women are never safe anywhere in this part of the world. The youth are being taken away by the men in uniform and most of them are never seen again, and a few who come back, are either handicapped or totally paralyzed. You are in the part of world where your name and the name of your country doesn’t exist. If someone wants to stand up against these forces, he is thrown inside the jail.” The tears started rolling down my eyes and I stopped the lady. My heart was beating very fast. There was a question in my mind but I was not able to ask. But this question was pinching me and after sometime I overcame my emotions and finally asked the question: “What is this place called?” “It is called, The Paradise on Earth,” the man replied. “What…??? No it can’t be true.” I began to ask everyone present in the room and everyone answered, “Yes this is Kashmir.”

His last blog titled ‘Yes, This is Kashmir” that was posted by him on June 30 gives us an insight about his thinking just months before he had decided to join the militant ranks.