This image of grieving 9-year-old boy becomes a symbol of Kashmir’s suffering

Nine-year-old Burhan Fayaz is seen crying at the funeral of his friend Amir Nazir, a civilian who was killed during an encounter in Pulwama last week. This photo, taken by HT photographer Waseem Andrabi, is being shared widely on social media.

A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words and a photograph of an anguished Kashmiri boy with tears rolling down his cheeks said volumes last week about the human suffering sweeping the region.

The snapshot, taken at the funeral of a teenager killed during an encounter in Padgampora of Pulwama in south Kashmir, is already being described by some as the defining image of the tragedy: Something as powerful as that of a young man seeking to block the advance of tanks in China’s Tiananmen Square or that of the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi who perished while trying to escape the Syrian war.

The Kashmiri boy catapulted to public gaze, however, considers himself no celebrity. For nine-year-old Burhan Fayaz, the picture just captured his angst and despair at losing his best friend, Amir. “I am still sad,” the student of Class 3 in Begumbagh’s government primary school said.

His friend Amir was among the hundreds of locals who had run towards the encounter site with a view to disrupt the security operation and let the militants escape. Villagers physically attempting to help cornered militants by hurling stones at security forces are a new phenomenon in Kashmir, despite stern warnings from army chief Bipin Rawat.

Amir, a student of Class 9, died after being hit by a bullet in the neck. His family says he was ‘targeted’ while the police say the villain was a ‘stray bullet’. Thousands, including Burhan, attended the funeral in his Begumbagh village, some four kilometres from the site of the gun battle where he was felled.

“Amir was like my brother. Who will I play with now,” an inconsolable Burhan asks now.

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Source By http://www.hindustantimes.com

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