Barkati became an internet sensation for his lyrical protests & his videos of sloganeering went viral on Facebook gaining him sobriquet “freedom chacha” before he was arrested on October 1

|| RIYAZ KHAN

              barkari  Wife of pro-freedom leader, Moulana Sarjan Barkati, popularly known as “freedom chacha”, for his attractive way of sloganeering, has appealed the state government to shift her husband to Srinagar jail from Kot-Balwal jail Jammu. Barkati who is also know “pied piper of Kashmir” was arrested on October 1 from Wanpoh area of south Kashmir when he was on the way to Arwani. He was slapped with the public safety act (PSA) before authorities shifted to Jammu jail. Barkati’s wife has pleaded that her financial condition was weak and she was not in a position to visit her husband to Jammu’s jail. She said the recent rumours about “Barkati’s death under custody” forced her to hire a vehicle and visit Jammu in the dead of a night to see her husband. “He is alive but has been beaten ruthlessly. He is ailing in the jail,” she said. “I along with my two sons want to visit him (Barkati) but our financial conditions don’t allow us,” she said, appealing the authorities that on humanitarian grounds her husband be shifted to Srinagar jail, so that she could visit him frequently. Barkati’s arrest was condemned by the separatists.

             “He has been a popular voice of Kashmir. Arresting him and many others will not stop the people from demanding their right to selfdetermination,” Qazi Yasir had said while condemning Barkati’s arrest. “The speeches of Moulana Barkati were only an expression of truth and the government and its agents can’t digest the truth.”

Who is Barkati

              A religious cleric from Shopian district and a senior leader of Ummat-e- Islami Jammu and Kashmir headed by Mirwaiz Qazi Yasir, Barkati rose to the prominence during the uprising this year and was instrumental in organizing massive public rallies across South Kashmir. He popularised “new forms of anti-India sloganeering” that went viral across Kashmir. Police had been conducting raids on Barkati’s house in Shopian until he was arrested. Barkati by his own admission was never into politics but following the death of rebel commander Burhan Wani on July 8 and the subsequent crushing of the protest demonstrations Barkati found himself pushed to the front of the pro-freedom rallies and marches in several parts of southern Kashmir. “I was never interested in politics, but circumstances made me so,” Barkati was quoted by a news portal in August when the uprising was at its peak. “We organize three rallies in a day.

A religious cleric from Shopian district and a senior leader of Ummate- Islami Jammu and Kashmir Barkati rose to the prominence during the uprising this year and was instrumental in organizing massive public rallies across South Kashmir

              During the first three days after Burhan’s martyrdom, we didn’t hold any rally. But after that I along with my other colleagues have been organising three rallies in a day. So approximately we have organised 177 rallies since then,” said Sarjan news portal quoted. Apart from the fervor he would bring to the protest rallies, it was his endearing style of political views that brought him praise and respect among the common people. He had become an internet sensation for his lyrical protests during the ongoing unrest in Kashmir. Barkati’s videos of lyrical and rhythmic sloganeering had gone viral on Facebook and other social networking sites, gaining him the sobriquet “freedom chacha”. Most of his speeches and slogans have been saved on smart phones by youngsters and shared them with their friends and family and in this way they travel through the region, arousing interest and curiosity far and wide. During the uprising Barkati would often receive invitations from other districts of Kashmir to speak at rallies and marches but the conditions didn’t permit him then.