Burhan Wani could have lived on had he decided not to fall in for a mission that had no future. It could not have!
‘His life was a hypothesis. A learned young boy who knew what was good for him and what was bad. If he wanted to become a doctor he should have pursued that dream but he went for the world of uncertainties. A world of intrigues where there was no future and whatever was if any it was all dark and grey. He was not helping himself and neither was he helping those with whom he was playing mind games and blurring their psyches. He could not have gone long in this game of cubic puzzles. If he wanted to become a hero there were better pedestals to do that. This surely was not the one. We often say, live life to it’s fullest or it may seem like you died young. He did not do so, had he, he would have been living today and doing well for the Kashmiri community because he had the talent and the potential to realize it but he did not take this road and hence found himself in no man’s land at the dead end of an alley. Dying is like the ocean, sometimes the tide comes in gently with soft, delicate waves quietly working in the background. Other days, the waves violently crash into explosions, demanding to be noticed but regardless of how it chooses to do its job, the tide will always come in. That night it did come and that too with a massive ear shattering blow out’
‘The boy had the Adonis-like looks and could have easily made it into the showbiz industry rather than falling in for a dingy web of deceit and mystery which ultimately claimed his life. Burhan Muzaffar Wani was a commander of the militant organisation Hizbul Mujahideen, active in Kashmir and designated as a terrorist group by the United States, India, European Union and Canada. He wielded massive popularity among the local populace through social media presence, and helped in conveying a more youth-oriented image of militancy in Kashmir, recruiting numerous foot-soldiers to the cause. Burhan Wani was actively sought after by Indian security forces with a hefty bounty being imposed on his head, and was finally killed on 8 July 2016 in a shootout. The killing sparked massive protests across the Kashmir Valley in what became the worst span of unrest in the region since 2010. As a result, Kashmir was placed under 53 consecutive days of curfew, which was only fully lifted on 31 August 2016.’
Had he pursued his aim of becoming a doctor he would have been the most appreciated man for serving humanity but that was not to be the case. He instead rose to becoming something where the dice is heavily loaded in favor of shortened life span and a deadly end game in which the loser is only one and in this case Bhuran was the man. Most Kashmiris would disagree but the fact is that he wasted his life for the reasons which he thought were correct but all the way wrong. A son of educationist, an expert at the computers and a voracious user of the social media had mastered the art of convincing the young men but had he used these convincing powers for better ventures he would have easily been one of the top heroes of Kashmir but he stumbled, then tumbled and finally rolled over!
I. Just in a brief as to what Wani was:
Burhan Wani was born in Dadasara village of Tral area in Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir to Muzaffar Ahmad Wani, principal of a government higher secondary school and Maimoona Muzaffar, a postgraduate of science who taught Quran in her village. He had four siblings, including his elder brother Khalid Muzaffar Wani, sister Iram Muzaffar and two younger brothers, one of whom is Naveed Alam. TraI has been a perpetual hot-bed of hardliner separatist insurgency. Burhan Wani planned to be a doctor and had obtained more than 90% marks in his Class 8 exam but left his home on 16 October 2010, ten days before his secondary exam and enrolled for the militant cause at about an age of 15, joining Hizbul Mujahideen. His family claims that the root of his disillusion with Indian state apparatus laid in an incident in the last summer, whence state police allegedly beat him up, along with his brother Khalid and a friend for no fault of theirs, after asking them to purchase cigarettes for them. Burhan’s cousins were already involved with the militant movement since about 2008, and had joined Hizbul Mujahideen in 2010. Burhan Wani used social-media as a tool of potent information-warfare a leveraging a clever mix of ideology, religion and a deep sense of persecution in chaste Kashmiri to romanticize the militant movement and wielded unforeseen influence in the local populace as a poster-boy, attracting numerous young adults into the cause. He oft-elaborated about the idea of India being entirely incompatible with Islam thus mandating a destruction at any cost, and aimed of unfurling the flag of Islam on Delhi’s Red Fort. In 2013 Burhan’s notability as a mujahid was further boosted, after he was erroneously described as being killed, across social media.
II. How he revived militancy in Kashmir:
Maybe his dissertation on Kashmir really had been as brilliant as he claimed, the truth was that we remember almost nothing about it; the intellectual leaps he made as a young are now a distant memory, what was his goal in life is not known because dying young cannot be one of them. Whether he knew it or not himself will never be known since he was on a pathway that was leading only one way and that is where he ultimately landed. In short the laurels grew but they withered quicker than they rose.
He was 22 but as I mentioned above he had mastered the art of useless but convincing talk for the boys of his age and also those who were a few years elder to him but he was leading the charge on a wrong hook. He is largely credited with reviving and legitimizing the image of militancy (but this credit is the worst possible appreciation one can get). Perhaps there was no one to tell him that. Had someone done that he surely would not have traveled on the road he wanted to. This could have been done by hundreds and thousands of Kashmiris who made him an icon but after his death in an encounter.
Born to a highly-educated upper-class Kashmiri family, Wani it is believed was driven to militancy at the age of 15, after his brother and he were beaten up by police for no reason.
Wani was extremely active on social media, and unlike militants in the past, did not hide his identity behind a mask.
His video messages, which would often go viral in Kashmir, were on the topics of Indian injustice and the need for young people to stand up to oppression.
In his last video he had warned local police of consequences if they continued to resist the movement. It is here where he faltered.
Wani was considered a terrorist, but for many locals he represented the spirit and political aspirations of a new Kashmiri generation. This was again here that the locals had got psyched out.
He was instrumental in persuading local boys to take up arms in the state. It was absolutely a wrong precedent which he considered right. This was the third blunder he made and that too as a kid from a learned family.
But Wani’s popularity at that time could be considered as more of a manifestation of the mood of the people at that time and an upsurge of violence in Kashmir, which had been influenced by several incidents.
Two uprisings in 2008 and 2010 saw the death and destruction in Kashmir.
The final cog in those times, seemed to be the decision by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which won elections in Kashmir valley, formed a coalition with BJP which performed well in the Jammu region.
Police records confirm that some of the young men who had become militants had actively canvassed for the PDP in the 2014 general elections.
The ideology that Wani promoted, maybe he thought was good but in the long term would not have helped Kashmir. Agreed that sentiments do overtake the mindset of the people but spreading the message of violence is the worst case scenario for the community that Bhuran was doing.
The age he died was of learning and making the future of the young bright but what he was propagating was a distorted ideology which would have led him only one way and that is where he went.
III. The final encounter:
It had been decided that he had to be eliminated, one from the security point and the second for ensuring that more Kashmiri youngsters do not take a plunge into the abyss. Many had in any case through the volatility unleashed by Burhaan ani. For a period of time that may have looked like heroism to turn the tide of the events but in the longer well I leave it to the Kashmiri youngster to decide but one thing was certain that it would have pushed Kashmir further down the slope from where the back climb would not have been easy. Pakistan was just enjoying the fun and the Hizb top man sitting there Salahuddin feeling elated basically for nothing.
19 Rashtriya Rifles was tasked to get him one way or the other and they risked their lives amidst extremely hostile conditions to eliminate Burhan Wani, the social media poster boy and Commander of banned terrorist organization, Hizbul Mujahideen.
On July 8, 2016, following specific actionable intelligence that some militants were hiding in a house in Bumdoora village, the area was quickly cordoned but the news of Army’s presence was leaked, making their task extremely challenging and risky.
Protesting crowds began swelling with every passing minute while troops of 19 Rashtriya Rifles, led by Major Sandeep Kumar, Capain Mannik Sharma and Niak Arvind silently took their positions at the encounter site, observing everything around them. The violent mob was shouting slogans and pelting stones on the security forces.
Leading the assault team, Captain Mannik and two other soldiers made an attempt to enter the house as Major Sandeep stood behind them, ready to provide cover fire.
However, they had to retreat amid heavy stone-pelting by the mob which had surrounded the house where the terrorists were hiding. Some soldiers in the outer cordon were injured in the stone pelting.
Showing nerves of steel and exemplary restraint in the face of extreme provocation by the villagers who had gathered in large numbers and pelting stones on the army to protect the terrorists, the team decided to wait it out.
As violent protests grew more and more intense, Major Kumar sent for the local ‘Imam’ whose services were to be used to calm the villagers. Even with darkness increasing, there were no signs of aggression of villagers decreasing.
With every passing moment, more people were joining the protest and pelting stones on the army.
Major Sandeep and his team made another attempt to storm the house and the militants unleashed a blizzard of bullets.
One terrorist, Aziz made an unsuccessful attempt to escape and was shot dead. By now, the troops were facing fire and stones from all sides. With time running out fast and two more militants, who were believed to be inside, had to be neutralized before night.
At that point, Major and his men decided to storm the house at any cost. As soon as they tried to break in, they came under a hail of bullets from the two militants who attempted to escape.
Militant Pervez Ahmad Lashkari was seen firing on the army troops while he was shielding a man and pushing him towards a nearby apple orchard.
Lashkari was gunned down in retaliatory fire by the crack team. After Lashkari was down they challenged the lone surviving militant.
Someone who used others’ shoulders to shoot from stood hapless and helpless. It was discovered later that the third terrorist was the most wanted Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, with a bounty of 10L on his head.
With him finished off the era of using cybernetics for spreading wrong ideology which by all means was not required. He was not a poster boy but just a brainwashed, galvanized and radicalized young man who chose his own death.
He was doing nothing but spitting venom and creating an aura of bogus chivalry around him.
The trio of Major Sandeep Kumar, Captain Manik Sharma and Naik Arvind, who led the operation, were awarded Sena Medal for their exemplary act of courage under fire.
Anyway the tale is over and that was the end he had coined for himself and it was definitely not of a hero because he propelled Kashmir yet again into fog and mist. But the legacy continued. Sabzar Bhat took over from Wani and became one of the leaders of Hizbul Mujahideen while serving as an aide to Wani.
Sabzar Ahmad Bhat was area commander of the militant organisation Hizbul Mujahideen. He was killed in an encounter by the police on 26 May 2017. Bhat’s home village is reported to have been in Rathsuna, Tral, Jammu and Kashmir. He only finished half of his schooling, dropping out after failing his Class X examinations, and previously worked in the orchards and fields of his father. He reportedly joined militant organization Hizbul Mujahideen in April 2015, after stealing a rifle from a CRPF soldier in Tral. Bhat was reported to have been involved in attacks on panchayat members and security forces, as well as the execution of civilians he believed to be informants. In October 2015, he was arrested for transporting two Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists involved in the 2015 Udhampur Terrorist Attack. In that case, he was indicted on 29 January 2016. Later it was said that a previously-unknown militant group, Mujahideen Taliban-e-Kashmir, claimed it had provided information on Bhat to security forces. The claim remains unverified, though some analysts suggested it reflected a growing schism between various terrorist groups in Kashmir, with members of Hizbul Mujahideen concerned that terrorist Zakir Musa (engineering graduate himself) may have betrayed Bhat.
What was it? Obviously profound stupidity and insanity the end of which had to be only one. It had to be that way because terror does not survive as the history as the events of the last century and this one proves it amply but what it does is that it leaves horrific memories behind! There are plenty in Kashmir as regards this chapter in the valley of the book that began to be written more than three decades back with the paper being used made of human fragile skin and the ink blood red! It’s time that Kashmiri youth move on because that’s the only way out in a world that stops for none!