For the first time in more than two decades, public support for militants fighting the Indian state is rising and being articulated in the open in the Kashmir Valley. Militants are hero-worshipped and massive crowds are participating in their funerals.
Image Credit: REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli
At a recent local cricket tournament at Tral in south Kashmir, three of the 16 teams – the Burhan Lions, Aabid Khan Qalandars and Khalid Aryans – bore the names of suspected Hizbul Mujahideen militants. The Burhan Lions for instance draw their name from 21-year-old Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the hugely popular poster boy of the militancy in Kashmir today.