Articles by our colleagues

Lest we forget

By Kausiki Sarma

An article written by our colleague Kausiki Sarma titled "Lest we forget". A shorter version of this was published in The Hindu on 10th August 2013.

The killing of five civilians at the hands of the Border Security Force in Ramban and their burial makes us recall the conversation we had with Habibullah Khan, the 80 year old caretaker of the more than two decades old Martyr's graveyard, located next to the Idgah in the heart of Srinagar. The graveyard, which holds almost 1500 burials, had its first burial in the early 1990's when militancy was at its peak. Carved in marble, at the entrance gate, are the lines, “Lest you forget we have given our “ today” for “tomorrow” of yours,” reminding visitors and passersby of the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives fighting for the cause of Kashmir.

Grave digging was not a profession which was passed on to Habibullah by his forefathers.

By Kausiki Sarma

This tall, lanky and bearded man was once an ordinary shopkeeper who took up the responsibility to look after the graveyard when he, like hundreds of others in the Kashmir valley, was affected by the everyday violence in the Kashmir valley. He recalls frequent encounters between Indian security forces and militants, leading to numerous deaths, torture and many human rights violations.

For Habibullah, becoming the caretaker of the graveyard was his way of giving back to society, his contribution to the struggle being waged by his fellow “freedom fighters” and his way of showing solidarity with the cause of Kashmir.

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