Struggle personified


What could be the dream of a 15 years old child? Probably to emerge as a doctor, an engineer or a pilot. Then what made this 15-year-old kid, Burhan Wani, a Kashmiri boy who tried to bring stability to his valley, to fight against tyranny and join Hizbul Mujahideen, a Kashmiri freedom fighter group founded by Muhammad Ahsan Dar in 1989.


Which circumstances compelled him to become the Himalayan Robin Hood at such a fledgeling age?


The Freedom Fighter – Burhan Wani left his home when he was just 15 years old to join Hizbul Mujahideen to get liberty from the tyrant Indian forces. Unfortunately, Indian Government labelled Burhan Wani as a militant. However, there is a question to the tyrant Indian government that, Do militants play cricket with young village boys, afford the expenses of the wedding of poor families and visit orphanages? The answer is certainly not. The inhabitants of valley exhibited admiration towards him.


“He was a good man, a gentleman,” said Abdul Majeed, a farmer and elder in the village of Shaar-i-Shalli. “That’s why people cared about him.”


They say Kashmir is ours but they do not consider Kashmiris as their own, claims Burhan Wani’s father, Muzaffar Wani.


Did you ever heard something like this about a militant or seemed any belligerent to do such generous acts or the local people admire him? Burhan Wani labelled as a militant just because he was determined to make Kashmir liberated from the invasion of Indian forces. In other words, the Indian armed forces were afraid off from his determination towards the liberation of Kashmir.


After witnessing extreme brutality, He decided to join the Hizbul Mujahideen for the reason that of an incident in which security personnel beat him up, along with his friend and his brother, Khalid. According to Burhan’s father and friend of him, who claimed to have accompanied him when the incident occurred.


Nonetheless, the Government of India had announced Rs 1 million bounties for finding and apprehension of Burhan. He recognised for posting freedom-fighting videos on social media that were popular in Kashmir. Conversely, a picture of him sitting along with 10 other freedom fighters uploaded on Facebook on 1 July and went viral. In one of his videos, he appealed youth to join Hizbul Mujahideen and considered to have recruited at least 30 young boys from South Kashmir.


Regrettably, a day came when he has to return towards his last destination, Indian security forces to encounter him. Burhan martyred in an operation by Indian troops on 8 July 2016 along with two other fighters later identified as Sartaj Ahmad Sheikh and Pervaiz Ahmad Lashkari. Unluckily, Burhan and his companions’ slew in Bumdoora village in Kokernag area, by a combined team of the special operations group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and 19 Rashtriya Rifles. It was revealed later by security forces that the operation had actually begun on 7 June when Burhan along with his accomplices had come to Kokernag to procure weapons. Certain Indian Police and Military officials later articulated that the security forces had acknowledged intelligence concerning the presence of Sheikh. However, but they were not acknowledged that Wani too was present along with him. The state’s Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Kumar Singh also stated that the security forces were unaware of his presence and would have given him a chance had they known about his presence there.


The martyrdom of Burhan Wani drew tens of thousands to rise up and recommence demands for freedom from brutal Indian rule. A huge crowd attended his funeral on 9 July. The crowd was earlier estimated to number 200,000 and described as the largest ever gathering by reporters. However, footage from an army drone revealed that the crowd only numbered 12,000 – 15,000. The last rite prayers also performed in absentia in all major towns of Kashmir. His frame enfolded in the flag of Pakistan and buried next to his brother Khalid in Tral. Other freedom fighters were also present at his funeral and offered him a three-volley salute.


Today, rock-throwing high school students paint his name on shuttered storefronts — “Burhan our hero” — while everyone from fearsome insurgents to moderate politicians mourn him.


Undeniably, Wani by this time revived the Hizbul Mujahideen, the leading IHK’s revolutionary groups, charming dozens of new recruits with postings on Facebook and other social media sites.


Freedom, self-determination and the right to live in peace are innate to a people. No matter how much violence the Indian state resorts to and no matter how much the country’s media manipulates the narrative surrounding what’s going on in Kashmir, the people of Kashmir will keep coming out on the streets to demand their rights.


Hira Ahmed is a student Mass Communication at Karchi University. She tweets at @HiraAhmed20 and can be reached at

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