Meet Kashmir's 20 Year Old Militant, Burhan Muzzafar Wani

23 July 2015
Vicky Nanjappa

Srinagar: Burhan Muzzafar Wani is 20 years old. He is the commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen and his social media skills have paid the terrorist group dividends much to the headache of the Indian security agencies. The Kashmir battle is changing in a lot of respects and the use of the social media has become a trend today among the militants who are clearly copying the ISIS and the al-Qaeda which have been the pioneers of using the social media in terrorist circles. Wani has become a force to reckon with at the young age of 20. There are several doubts that have been raised about his on field commanding skills, but he sure has managed to take the social media by storm and this has resulted in the recruitments of several educated youth. The cricket bat replaced with an Ak-47 Wani first made his advent into the social media at the age of 16. His pictures donning an assault rifle went viral of Facebook when he was 17. A young boy who wanted nothing in life but to study and play cricket, his journey into the world of terror had left a lot of people shell shocked. Hailing from the village of Tral in the South of Kashmir, he was one of the first breed of educated youth to join the Hizbul Mujahideen. It is still unclear if he had joined the ranks as a result of brainwashing or the dreaded decision was taken suo-motu. At the age of 17, Wani decided to post a picture of his donning an assault rifle on the social media. This was the uncovering of the educated youth who had turned towards the Hizbul Mujahideen, a powerful terrorist group in Kashmir. Intelligence Bureau officials in Kashmir who have prepared a report on Wani which is in the possession of OneIndia say that what was surprising was that his decision to join the Hizbul elicited a great deal of interest among the youth in the village. There were no negative reviews that he got for joining the Hizbul. In fact several youth supported him outright and felt that he had done the right thing. Roping in the educated Wani has ensured that the Hizbul functions in a more sophisticated manner. The war is more propaganda based and styled on the internet. He has take a cue from the al-Qaeda and the ISIS which have become leaders in using the internet for terrorist activities. Wani's recent post in which he had posed with a group of his friends sporting army clothes went extremely viral on the internet. In addition to this Wani has been using the social media to spread a lot of propaganda. There is boasting of things that never happened very much like how the ISIS functions was also adopted by Wani. The Intelligence Bureau says that this has led to several youth joining the Hizbul Mujahideen. The IB report would state that while 28 have joined Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag five others were from Baramulla, Bandipora and Sopore. What has been most disturbing is that all these youth are highly educated. Security agencies have always maintained that the educated are far more dangerous in the world of terror when compared to the un-educated. The rise in the number of educated youth joining the militant ranks had prompted an urgent meeting of the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval who has decided to chalk out a new strategy for Kashmir.