Every year the Annual ISNA Convention brings together thousands of Muslims and people of other faiths from all over the world. This year the 55th Convention took place from June 30 to July 3, 2017 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago, IL, USA. ISNA stands for Islamic Society of North America. The convention featured more than 200 speakers, sessions, round table discussions, bazaar with 550 booths, entertainment, banquets, carnival, and much more but the most remarkable thing of the convention was a speech delivered by President World Kashmir Awareness Forum Dr. Ghulam N. Mir. Through his speech Dr. Mir conveyed a very strong message to the world that that Indian occupation of Kashmir is by far the most consequential political blunder the Indian government has made. He said, “Kashmir is a large, resourceful, cultured and multicultural nation. It needs no Indian interference. It fulfills all the parameters of a viable sovereign state as per United Nations charter. To deny that right of sovereignty to millions of people of Kashmir is a travesty of justice. It violates the letter and intent of the UN charter. By refusing to implement the UN Security Council resolutions, India violates its international obligation. These resolutions demand cessation of the military actions, demilitarization and allowing the people of Kashmir to decide their future through an unfettered referendum, or plebiscite under UN supervision.” In short the speech of Dr. Mir succeeded in drawing the attention of the international community towards the flaming issue of the Indian Occupied Kashmir, vigorously and vehemently. During the Convention Dr MA Dhar showed a short video about the atrocities being committed by the Indian Army on the Kashmiri population. After the video Dr. Dhar said in his address that the people in the Indian Occupied Kashmir have to face a lot of cruelties and atrocities at the hands of the Indian security forces every day. He stressed that it was time to mitigate the sufferings of the Kashmiri people, who had been pledged UN-sponsored plebiscite, which has been denied to them.
The time chosen for the Annual ISNA Convention also played a very important role in making Kashmir issue alive in the hearts of people as on 8th of July, the lovers of Kashmir are observing first death anniversary of Burhan Wani, commonly popular in Kashmir with the loving title of the Poster Boy. He was popular among the Kashmiris due to his activity on social media where he advocated against Indian rule in Kashmir. He was killed in a fake encounter with the Indian security forces on 8 July 2016. Burhan was the voice of the whole of Kashmiri youth. The Indian security forces portrayed him as a terrorist and a militant and announced a bounty of ten lakh on his arrest but in fact he was neither a terrorist nor a militant; he was a reaction against the cruelty of Indian security forces. His friends, his neighbours and the members of his family are a witness that he was never involved in any terrorist activity. It was his deep-rooted popularity that his funeral was attended by thousands of people and after his murder at the hands of security forces, Kashmir remained in a state of trouble and turmoil for more than six months. According to a report, after his death widespread protests erupted in the Kashmir valley and unrest prevailed there for nearly half a year. More than 90 people died and over 15,000 civilians and more than 4,000 security personnel were injured as a result of the public protest and agitation. Analysts describe the situation after his death as ‘the worst unrest in the region since the 2010 Kashmir unrest.’ The Indian government was so frightened of the situation that it had to impose curfew in the valley for 53 consecutive days. A very strong and intense protest is again expected on Burhan Wani’s first death anniversary on 8th July as the brave people of Kashmir have Wani alive in their hearts and minds. They would never let memories of Burhan Wani die as he had taught them how to live with heads up.