KASHMIR: July 8th is remembered as the day of martyrdom of a Kashmiri militant commander Burhan Wani. He was 22 years of age when he embraced martyrdom, fighting for the freedom of Kashmir. He became famously known as “Poster Boy” of Kashmir militancy.
Born in Pulwama, Jammu Kashmir, Wani belonged to a highly educated, upper class family. His father was a local high school’s principal and his mother was a Postgraduate in Science, and taught Quran to village children, and still continues to do so. Burhan Wani were five siblings, 4 brothers and 1 sister, including Burhan.
He aspired to be a doctor, but when he was in grade 10, he joined Hizbul Mujahideen, a Pakistani militant organization for Kashmiris, at the age of 15, after he, along with his elder brother and a friend, were beaten up by some security personnel, even when he was not at fault, after buying them cigarettes, which was a routine to use the road. Burhan and friend managed to escape but his brother was left unconscious. The outrageous Burhan shouted back that he will “avenge” this action. Soon after, he became famous on social media too, because of his presence to liberate Kashmir from Indian troops. His actions caused many Kashmiri youths to join the organization.
Through his social media campaigns, he wanted to take Kashmiri Hindu pandits and hindus into confidence to return to Kashmir where there rights will be protected. This step spiked his popularity, and did not feared his identity as a militant, unlike many other and former militants.
While being a militant, Burhan was visited by his brother Khalid, along with latter’s friends. All the visitors were killed on April 13th, 2015, by the Indian Army. This escalated anti-Indian speeches by Burhan. In his video message on July 7th, 2016, Wani warned the Indian troops of “consequences” if they tried to apply Indian laws in Kashmir, and urged the fellow Kashmiris to keep him and his associated about the movements of the Indian troops. He further added his concern in his video message, that they do not want to attack the police, who were their own people – Kashmiris, but if they continued to support the Indian troops, Wani and his associates will be left with no option.
On July 8th, 2016, Burhan was extra- judicially killed, along with his two collegues, in Bamdoora village, in Indian occupied Kashmir, by the Indian troops. He was 22 when he breathes his last, struggling to free Kashmir from Indian troops.
His death was mourned by 50,000 people and 200,000 people attended his funeral, which is said to be the largest procession ever. He was laid to rest drapped in a Pakistani flag, and was buried in Tral, his hometown, beside his brother Khalid.A region-wide strike was observed and Wani’s posters were put up at all possible places in Kashmir. His death, however, sparked the violence which continued for months, and killed many hundred Kashmiris.
Burhani Wani’s face became the face of “Kashmiri Independence Movement” He gave a new hope to the independence of Kashmir. People on both sides of the Indo-Pak region are observing his death anniversary today.