Burhan Wani's death and a year of living dangerously

Burhan Wani, Hizbul poster boy, killed in encounter

Screenshot from a video of Burhan Wani, commander of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen.  

Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani (22), the architect of the social-media driven psychological warfare in Kashmir, was killed along with two other militants in an encounter in Anantnag district on Friday evening.

Described by security agencies as “the biggest-ever success” in recent times, Wani, who carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head, was tracked after a tip-off that he was planning to come down from the Tral forest area for Eid celebrations.

Wani and his two local associates were cornered by security forces in Kokernag area and killed in an encounter. The militants hurled grenades and opened fire in a bid to escape, but the house where they were holed up was bombed killing all three, police sources said.

Director General of Police (DGP) K. Rajendra confirmed that Wani was among the three militants killed in the joint operation of the Army and the counter-insurgency cells of Srinagar and Anantnag districts.

The news of Wani’s death triggered protests across the Valley. Hundreds of people assembled in Tral, Wani’s hometown, on Friday evening to participate in his funeral prayers. Several others performed funeral in absentia in south, central and north Kashmir.

A senior police officer said several security forces’ installations were attacked in south Kashmir and protesters were injured in late night clashes.

Curfew-like restrictions

Fearing more violence, the State government has imposed curfew-like restrictions in Srinagar, Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian, Sopore, Kupwara and Kulgam.

Internet services have been snapped across the Valley and all top-ranking separatist leaders placed under house arrest.

Top police sources told The Hindu that Wani, who joined the militancy in 2010, had remained elusive because of his “tremendous following” online and on the ground.

“Every time an operation was launched against Wani, our movement was reported to him by his huge network of young supporters and fans,” said a top police officer.

Wani, the face of new-age militancy in Kashmir, played a key role in making Hizbul Mujahideen stronger than the Lashkar-e-Taiba in the Valley. “Since 2010, he must have influenced more than 60 youths in south Kashmir to join militancy. He received training locally without crossing into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” said a police source.

Fan following

His fan following forced the Hizbul to own him in 2011 and declare him one of their commanders. Most of Wani’s recruits allegedly came from a middle-class background with good academic records. They would snatch weapons from policemen and receive training in orchards.

Wani waged psychological warfare by releasing videos and pictures online. A picture of him with 10 gun-toting local youths went viral last year and made him the poster boy of the Hizbul Mujahideen.

In his last video released in June, Wani was seen playing cricket with other militants.

Weeks before that, in another video, he pledged not to harm Amarnath pilgrims, but warned the local police of dire consequences.

null
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 3:56:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Burhan-Wani-Hizbul-poster-boy-killed-in-encounter/article14479731.ece

In Depth
Children cover their nose as they walk away from smoke shells fired by police during clashes in Srinagar on July 8, 2017.
Curfew in Valley on Wani's death anniversary
Stone-throwing in Kashmir on the wane: CRPF
Burhan anniversary forces early vacation in J&K
Cannabis plants being destroyed in Awantipora.
The anonymous addicts
The pathology of lynching
A CRPF Jawan stands guard outside the Jamia Masjid.
Police officer Mohammed Ayub Pandith lynched outside Srinagar's Jamia Masjid
Kashmir unrest
As turmoil mounts in Valley, policemen at a crossroads
Pellet guns plastic bullets
‘Plastic bullets’ sent to Kashmir
Negotiations the only option, says Geelani
On terror funding trail, NIA conducts raids on separatists
Valley unrest takes a toll on Pandits’ festival
Slain militant Burhan Wani’s successor killed in encounter
"I did not throw stones. I was kept thirsty from 10.45 a.m. till 7.30 p.m."
Fresh protests erupt in Kashmir Valley
Hizb ‘commander’ quits over ideological differences
Kashmir militants kill unarmed Kulgam Army officer on leave
IS, al-Qaeda have no role in Kashmir: separatists
More locals take to militancy in Kashmir Valley
Kashmir’s unending tragedy
J&K suspends 22 social media sites
Women students join anti-police protests in Srinagar
Srinagar, where campuses simmer with anger and anxiety
A grab from the video, purportedly shot in Budgam on April 9, showing a youth tied to an Army vehicle.
Army uses civilian as  shield, sparks outrage
Only 2% turnout recorded in Srinagar
Bypolls in Kashmir: A prolonged protest
It’s school time again in Valley
Tral in a trance over young Shaheera Akhtar’s 498/500
Wani’s kin not paid compensation
J&K suffered Rs 16,000 cr loss during Kashmir unrest
A pellet victim undergoing treatment in SMHS Hospital in Srinagar.
J&K govt. announces ex gratia payment of Rs. 5 lakh to kin of deceased in 2016 unrest
Hope becomes the biggest casualty in restive Jammu and Kashmir
A year of living dangerously
The new abnormal in Kashmir
Kashmir Valley back to life after shutdown
‘All pass’ for 9 lakh students in Valley
Students take exams amid shutdown in Valley
Army launches ‘School Chalo’ operation in South Kashmir
Amnesty slams burning of schools in Valley
More than a hundred days later
In 100 days, India’s facade crumbled: Geelani
Gun-snatching in Valley worries Army
Forebodings come true in Valley’s season of violence
3,000 more soldiers deployed in Valley
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti address a press conference in Srinagar on Thursday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
Rajnath promises alternative to pellet guns, says he is willing to talk to all
Junaid undergoing treatment in Srinagar on Sunday after being hit by pellets in the chest. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
14% of pellet gun victims in Kashmir are below 15
A ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’ poster wakes world to pellet blind spot
A morphed image of Shah Rukh Khan.
‘Pellet-hit’ images of leaders and stars go viral in Valley
Newspapers in Kashmir refuse to publish
Last week, about 2,800 CRPF troops were sent to the State. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
Centre rushes 2,000 additional troops to Kashmir
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea for Governor’s rule in the strife-ridden State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Behind the rage in south Kashmir
Mehbooba govt. gags media, blocks cable TV
Women too bear the brunt of pellet guns
J&K Education Minister Naeem Akhtar. File photo
Will relook into circumstances leading to Burhan’s killing: J&K govt.
A woman requests a policeman cross the road in Srinagar on Tuesday. A curfew remained in place in most parts of Kashmir for the fourth consecutive day as authorities struggled to contain protests following the killing of top militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
Living in denial on Kashmir
A woman and her daughter cross a deserted bridge in Srinagar on Tuesday.
Restrictions are still in force in most parts of the Kashmir Valley after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
PM asks security forces in J&K to exercise absolute restraint
Calming the Valley
Boys walk in front of closed shops during a curfew in Srinagar on Monday. —Photo: Nissar Ahmad
The rise of Kashmir’s rock star ultras
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. File photo.
Sharif attacks India after Opposition ire
An injured man at the SMHS hospital in Srinagar on Sunday. — Photo: Nissar Ahmad
19 men injured by pellets may lose vision
Burhan's funeral: Dangerous writing on the wall
Securitymen patrol a deserted street at Maisuma area in Srinagar on Saturday. Photo: Nissar Bhat
Burhan Wani killing: Amarnath Yatra suspended
Stone pelting incidents were reported from many areas of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
Wani’s death triggers fury, 11 killed, 200 hurt in Kashmir
You are reading
Screenshot from a video of Burhan Wani, commander of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen.
Burhan Wani, Hizbul poster boy, killed in encounter
Screenshot from a video of Burhan Wani, commander of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen.
Amarnath pilgrims won’t be harmed: Hizbul
These young militants are selfie buffs and trendy
Next Story