A defining image of the situation in south Kashmir

Srinagar, Mar 06: A photo showing women participating in the funeral prayers of a militant killed in south Kashmir’s Shopian district went viral on the social media on Tuesday.
Clicked on Monday by Sheikh Mashooq, a photojournalist working with English Daily Rising Kashmir, the picture has two pheran-clad women standing beside men in prayers rows in Rakhpora village at Kapran, Shopian.
The funeral, Mashooq told The Kashmir Monitor, was of Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, Ashiq Hussain Bhat.
“There were thousands waiting for the militant’s body since the morning. When it arrived around noon, a few militants suddenly appeared in the gathering and fired several rounds in the air. Soon after when the people started lining up for prayers, these two women joined them,” Mashooq said.
The district witnessed six such funerals on Monday, a day after four civilians and two militants were killed by the army on Sunday evening.
The photo was widely shared on social networking websites.
Senior journalist, Hilal Mir called it “one of the most powerful and heart-wrenching pics I have seen.”
Alone on his profile, the photo was shared over 180 times and reacted to by more than 200 people.
Throughout the day, it continued to be shared and commented on by dozens of other users.
A Facebook user captioned it “resistance” and wrote: “a truly powerful and heartbreaking moment. Kashmiris rise above and beyond before the only power they hold true as the occupation pushes them down.”
Yet another commented: “Resistance is a prayer in itself. Let this not be taken as blasphemy”.
Another user replied to it: “Down south, this is no longer blasphemous; have witnessed scenes like these personally many times.”
The users were hinting towards the Islamic concept disallowing women to mix with the opposite gender, especially in prayers and funerals.
Another user wrote that “the day is not far when women too would join militants. It’s a clear message to India and especially CM Mehbooba.”
On Twitter too, the photo became an instant hit.
“One of the most defining pictures from the Kashmir Valley. Grief is gender neutral. And so is the resilience and resistance. A picture worth a thousand words. What perpetual conflict does to societies. May those responsible for this rot in hell! Ameen,” wrote political analyst, Gowhar Geelani on Twitter.
After it was widely shared on Gowhar’s account, Twitter flagged the photo as “sensitive material” and pinned a message to it, only letting a user see it after he or she agreed to the disclaimer.
A few compared the picture with that of the human shield Farooq Dar. Dar’s photo showing him tied to a bonnet of an army jeep in Budgam in April last year was one of the most widely shared clicks of 2017 from Kashmir.

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