Afroz Ahmad Lone, 23-year-old police constable working in J&K Police was killed in Sangam, Anantnag district of Kashmir in July 2015. He met an untimely death when an angry mob, protesting against the Indian rule in the valley, pushed the armoured police vehicle he was driving, into river Jehlum with a trapped Afroz inside. He was posted at the Sangam police station only three months earlier. He hailed from a poor family and was the sole breadwinner of the family. His story of poverty is shared by thousands of other constables across the country. "He was the major support for his family and now nothing is left," says Afroz's uncle.
But unlike the many public funerals reserved for the martyrs who died for the freedom cause of Kashmir, this youth's death quitely passed by, without a public outrage on his wasted youth. This death did not anger the people of Kashmir like the others. Why? Was it because Afroz was part of the establishment?
The deadly clashes between protesters and security forces has resulted in the killing of over 100 local civilians, with over 23,000 injuries, while as thousands are detained by State. More than 20 police stations were attacked by the protesters during this period, while as half a dozen policemen have been shot and thousands injured during the clashes with protesters. Just like Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander whose death erupted five months of violence across the Kashmiri valley, Afroz too was an accomplished cricket player. Cricket was his only passion. "Only cricket concerned by son. The rest had never mattered. We forced him into applying and working in the police force for some income," says Shameena Akhtar.
But unlike Burhan, he was on the 'other side' of the protest. His struggles were similar to many youths of Kashmir but his solution for the problem was to join the 'other side'. How justified is Kashmir's ignorance towards one of its son? Was his death not a matter of mourning for the valley?
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