Burhan Wani was an Indian militant. He was the commander of the Kashmiri militant group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and was encountered 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. Reportedly, in 2010, one day, when he was travelling with his brother, he was stopped by the police. They asked his brother to bring cigarettes for them and when his brother returned, the policemen started beating them. Burhan managed to escape, but the policemen kept beating Khalid until he was not able to stand. Upon seeing this, Burhan decided to pick up arms against the Indian Army and fight against this injustice.
According to sources, after the incident, Burhan started noticing that he was not the only person who faced such issues. He interacted with many people and realized that his friends and acquaintances had gone through the same things that he and his brother suffered. At the age of 15, he quit school and left his home to join the militancy. 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, and he used social media platforms to inform the people of J&K about the wrongdoings of the Indian Army.
Burhan became famous on Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter. His videos went viral and many young boys of J&K agreed with what he said. 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 what had been done to him. He wanted the people to 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 met in the middle of a forest when suddenly the Indian Army ambushed them. Burhan escaped, but Khalid was killed in the attack. The Indian Army stated that Khalid was a militant sympathizer, and he had taken his friends with him to get them recruited to the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Later, the J&K police arrested Khalid’s friends, 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 would often upload photos on social media posing with guns and with his militant friends. He published videos appealing to 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.
Burhan had published many videos threatening the Indian Army. He said that the men in uniform (Indian Army) is unjust and the militants will retaliate to all their wrongdoings. When there were discussions of providing Kashmiri Pandits with separate colonies, Burhan opposed it. He said that they can come back and live on their land but a separate colony was not acceptable; as he does not want an Israel-like situation in Kashmir. There had been several attacks on the Indian Army by militants, but none of them could be traced back to Burhan. Reportedly, Burhan had often masterminded these attacks.
Height: 5′ 9″ (approx.)
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Family, Wife, & Caste
Burhan belonged to an Upper Caste Kashmiri 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 encountered 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. However, 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. The J&K 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 arrest them. Later, the police stated that they had no clue that Burhan Wani was also present with them. They began the search operation on 7 July, which ended on 8 July 2016. The security forces also faced resistance from the local villagers during the search operations. The villagers had started pelting stones at them.
As the security forces were conducting the search operation, the militants opened fire at them. The forces located them, and they retaliated to the attack by the militants. They opened fire at 4:30 pm and the operation went on till 6:15 pm, which ended up in all three of them being encountered. Later, the Director-General of Jammu & Kashmir’s police, K. Rajendra, briefed the media about the encounter. He had also confirmed that Burhan Wani was also killed in the encounter. He said that if they had known that Burhan was there, they would have tried to arrest him.
Right after the death of Burhan Wani, several villagers 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. The people were in disbelief that he had been encountered. People offered prayers throughout Kashmir for Burhan. 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’s body was wrapped in the Pakistani flag, 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 of 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 attacked various transit camps, due to which several Kashmiri Pandits had to flee from Kashmir overnight. Due to the attacks 90 people died, 15,000 people were injured, and more than 4,000 army personnel had been injured. Reportedly, the security forces had to use assault rifles on the mob due to the increasing violence. Former Pakistan PM, Nawaz Sharif expressed shock over Burhan Wani’s encounter, and he said that he was a martyr. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs criticized his statement and responded by saying that Pakistan should glorify terrorists.
- On 1 July 2015, Burhan uploaded a photo with 9 other militants. All the militants in that photo, except one, have been encountered by the Indian Armed Forces.
- After Burhan’s death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized the Indian media and said 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 said-
A Young leader who had emerged as a symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada”
- In December 2016, the J&K Government provided Burhan’s family with an ex-gratia compensation of 4 lacs INR for the encounter of Burhan’s elder brother, Khalid. This led to criticism by many opposition parties. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also criticized the J&K Government; despite them being their ally.
- In July 2017, Pakistani Today (a Pakistani newspaper) praised Burhan Wani’s death to the death of Che Guevara in an article with the headline- “History repeats itself.”
- 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 featured.
- Every year on 8 July, Kashmir celebrates his death anniversary. Amarnath Yatra is 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. However, a year later, Sabzar was encountered by the Indian Security Forces.
- On 21 September 2018, Pakistan issued a postage stamp glorifying Burhan Wani. The stamp termed him as a “Freedom Icon”.