Burhan Wani was an Indian militant. He was the commander of the Kashmiri militant group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Burhan was killed by the Indian security forces in 2016.
Burhan Wani was born on 19 September 1994 (age 22 years; at the time of death) in Dadasara, Tral, Jammu and Kashmir. His zodiac sign is Virgo. Burhan did his schooling from the Tral area of Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir. He was a brilliant student and was a topper throughout his school life.
He loved playing cricket, and he was very good at it. Many people considered him to be a budding cricketer of Jammu & Kashmir. Burhan was fascinated with the Indian Army. He loved the camouflage uniform of the Army, and he aspired to join the Indian Army someday. In 2010, once when he was travelling with his brother, he was stopped by the police. They asked his brother to bring cigarettes for them. When his brother returned, the policemen started beating them. Burhan managed to escape, but the policemen kept beating Khalid. Khalid was not able to stand. Upon seeing this, Burhan decided that he will pick up arms against the Indian Army and fight against this injustice.
Burhan then started noticing that he was not the only victim of this behaviour. He interacted with many people and realized that his friends and acquaintances had gone through the same things that he and his brother had suffered. He then quit school and left his home at the age of 15 to join the militancy. He wanted to stand up against the Indian Army and decided that it was the only way to do so. In an interview, his mother stated that-
Burhan was a very stubborn boy and he would get what he wanted by any means possible”
Burhan joined the Kashmiri militant group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. He trained with them, and he soon became an important part of the group. Burhan was very tech savvy. He used various social media platforms to inform the people of J&K about the wrongdoings of the Indian Army.
Burhan became quite famous on Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter. His videos went viral and many young boys of J&K were motivated by Burhan. Burhan was never camera-shy. While other militants usually hide their faces on camera, Burhan used to publish his videos openly. He wanted the people to see who he was and what had been done to him. He wished people should know that he is one of their own, and they can trust him. He was soon made the commander of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
On 13 April 2015, his elder brother, Khalid, along with 3 of his friends, had gone to meet Burhan. They were meeting in the middle of a forest when suddenly the Indian Army attacked them. Burhan escaped, but Khalid was killed in this attack. The Indian Army claimed that Khalid was a militant sympathizer and he had taken his friends along with him to get them recruited to the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. The J&K police arrested Khalid’s friends later, but they did not confirm whether his friends had joined the militancy or not.
In 2015, the Government of India had announced a bounty of 1 Lac INR for any information which would help in finding Burhan. Burhan regularly used to upload photos posing with guns, and with his militant friends. He had published videos appealing the Kashmiri youth to join the militancy, and he had managed to recruit more than 30 young boys from South Kashmir through his videos. The militants used to attack the pilgrims of the Amarnath Yatra, but in June 2016, he published a video, assuring the people that no militant group would attack them.
Burhan used to publish videos threatening the Indian Army. He stated that the men in uniform (Indian Army) is unjust and the militants will retaliate to all their wrongdoings. When there were talks of providing Kashmiri Pandits with separate colonies, Burhan opposed the idea. He stated that they can come back and live on their land but a separate colony was not acceptable; as he did not want an Israel-like situation in Kashmir. There had been several attacks on the Army by militants, but none of them could be traced back to Burhan. Although, it has been reported that Burhan had often masterminded these attacks.
Height: 5′ 9″ (approx.)
Weight: 60 kg (approx.)
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Family, Wife, & Caste
Burhan belonged to an Islamic Family. His father, Muzaffar Ahmad Wani, is a maths teacher and the principal of a higher secondary school. His mother, Maimoona Muzaffar, is a Post Graduate in Science, and she teaches the Quran in her village. His elder brother, Khalid Muzaffar Wani, was killed by the Indian Army. His younger brother, Naveed Alam Wani, is a student. His younger sister, Iram Muzaffar Wani, is a student. Burhan Wani was unmarried, although it was reported that he had many affairs.
On 7 July 2016, Burhan Wani, along with 2 other militants, had arrived in Bumdoora village, Kokernag, J&K. They were there to obtain some weapons. Police received a tip-off that Sartaj Ahmad Sheikh and Pervaiz Ahmad Lashkari were in Bumdoora, and they started a joint operation with the 19 Rashtriya Rifles to nab them. Later, the police claimed that they had no clue about Burhan Wani’s presence. They began the search operation on 7 July, which ended on 8 July 2016. The security forces faced resistance from the local villagers during the search operations. The villagers had started pelting stones at them.
As the security forces were conducting a search operation, the militants opened fire at them. The forces located them and soon started firing at them. They opened fire at 4:30 pm and the encounter went on till 6:15 pm. All three of them were dead. Later, the Director General of Jammu & Kashmir’s police, K. Rajendra, briefed the media about the encounter. He also confirmed that Burhan Wani was also killed in the encounter. He also stated that if they had known that Burhan was there, they would have asked him to surrender.
Just after the death of Burhan Wani, many villagers came out and clashed with the security forces. As the news of his death travelled throughout Kashmir, people mourned his death, and they started attacking army camps, police colonies, and CRPF camps. There was violence throughout Kashmir. Burhan Wani was an icon, and the people were in disbelief that he had been encountered. People offered prayers throughout Kashmir, in honour of Burhan Wani. As his body was being brought home, thousands of people followed him and gathered around his house. Reportedly it was one of the largest gathering ever and more than 2 Lac people had arrived.
Burhan Wani was wrapped in the flag of Pakistan, and he was buried in Tral, next to his brother, Khalid. Militants were also present at his burial. The militants offered a Three-volley salute to Burhan i.e., three shots fired in the air; which signifies that the dead have been removed and the battle can resume now. Separatist leaders of Kashmir demanded a shutdown in Kashmir. They kept extending the shutdown for more than 6 months and finally called it off in February 2017. Police stations and army camps were regularly attacked by the mob.
The mob also attacked various transit camps, due to which several Kashmiri Pandit employees had to flee from Kashmir overnight. More than 90 people had died, more than 15,000 people had been injured, and more than 4,000 army personnel had been injured in the clashes following Burhan’s death. The security forces reportedly had to use assault rifles on the mob due to the increasing violence. Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif expressed shock over Burhan Wani’s killing and also stated that he was a martyr. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs heavily criticized his statement and responded by saying that Pakistan should not be involved in glorifying terrorists.
- On 1 July 2015, Burhan had uploaded a photo of himself along with 9 other militants. All the militants in that photo, except one, have been killed by the Indian Armed Forces.
- After the death of Burhan Wani, Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized the Indian media, saying that the media should stop portraying Burhan as a slain hero.
- During a speech in the United Nations General Assembly, the former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif talked about Burhan Wani and stated-
A Young leader who had emerged as a symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada”
- The Jammu & Kashmir Government provided the family of Burhan Wani an ex-gratia compensation of 4 Lacs INR in December 2016, for the controversial encounter of Burhan’s elder brother, Khalid. This led to criticism by many opposition parties. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had also criticized the J&K Government; despite them being their ally.
- In July 2017, Pakistani Today (a Pakistani newspaper) compared Burhan Wani’s death to the death of Che Guevara and stated- History repeats itself. The article also praised Burhan Wani.
- On 14 August 2017 (Independence Day of Pakistan), Pakistan Railways ran a special train named- Azadi Train. The train featured all the national heroes of Pakistan, among which Burhan Wani was also featured.
- Every year on 8 July, Kashmir celebrates his death anniversary. Amarnath Yatra is also stopped for 3-4 days during this period; due to security concerns.
- Burhan Wani was succeeded by Sabzar Bhat. He was the new commander of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Although, one year later, Sabzar was also killed by the Indian Security Forces in an encounter.
- On 21 September 2018, Pakistan issued a postage stamp glorifying Burhan Wani. The stamp termed him as a “Freedom Icon”. BBC
References [ + ]