Because they’re such a rebuke to Islamophobic rubbish about saving Muslim women from their men & religion, the images of Palestinian & Kashmiri women stone pelters are always worth posting. But this was no ordinary stone pelting incident. These Kashmiri women were pelting at CRPF (counter-insurgency) troops to protest the killing of 19-year-old Kashmiri Zahid Rasool Bhat on October 9th, 2015. When I investigated the incident of his murder, this photo took on more gravity; the story requires serious attention.
Zahid Rasool Bhat was a trucker traveling back to the valley from New Delhi, India. A Hindutva nationalist goon squad who suspected him of transporting beef in his truck stopped the vehicle on the highway. Beef is eaten by Muslims but considered sacred by Hindus & more sacred than human life by Hindutva nationalists. The goon squad assaulted him & then set him on fire with petrol bombs in the cab of his truck. At that time, it was the third instance when a Muslim man had been murdered over beef. Not that it mitigates anything, but according to a credible report, Bhat was carrying coal in his truck, not beef.
The then Chief Minister of the state condemned the killing & offered the Bhat family compensation of about $7,700 & a government job. There’s something so venal about such an offer for the loss of a beloved son. Five nationalist thugs were arrested for murder, rioting, conspiracy, & explosive charges but there is no report on the legal actions against them. The incident was caught on security cameras so the murderers didn’t have a leg to stand on for defense. There was media blithering at the time about “communal passions” aroused between Hindus & Muslims over beef but that’s nothing but an alibi for the intolerance & hatred of nationalism whipped up by the Modi government against Muslims in India & Kashmir.
Our belated but sincere sympathy to the friends & family of Zahid Rasool Bhat. Today is the anniversary of his funeral attended by thousands of Kashmiris in his native town of Batengoo. May he Rest in Peace.
(Photo by Mir Wasim/GK)