Funerals of militants have become a public expression of rage and alienation in. While the Union home ministry’s official estimate for the number of militants in the Valley is now a little less than 200, against over 3,500 in the 1990s, the army and paramilitary report an unprecedented rise in local support to insurgency.
This is manifested in efforts by villagers to hamper counter-insurgency operations in the Valley, including by women. Army units have been reporting efforts to snatch weapons, something unprecedented. Earlier northused to be the centre of insurgent activity. It is now south Kashmir.
Militants, dead and alive, are present in public consciousness everywhere. Burhan Lions, Aabid Khan Qalandars and Khalid Aryans were the names of cricket teams that played IPL-type matches in south Kashmir this April. These teams were named after militants from the region killed in army action. The cricket matches went ahead as scheduled and neither the police or army tried to disrupt an activity that glorified slain militants.