Burhan Wani skillfully used social media to spread his message of militancy to young Kashmiris. On Saturday, a day after his death , the virtual world was flooded with tributes to the Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy while some also praised the security forces for claiming a top prize.
#BurhanWani was a top Twitter trend through the day. Many Kashmiris changed their Facebook profile pictures to either a black square or the militant’s own mug. Others quoted from poems to describe his “martyrdom”.
“Martyrs don’t die, their blood waters the roots of resistance and shakes the very foundations of occupation and oppression. You have left us in grief, Burhan! May you join your brothers in jannah. Allah is with the oppressed. Woe unto the oppressor!” Srinagar-based social activist Essar Batool wrote on Facebook.
A tweet by @Qadri_Inzamam read, “Burhan is an idea, a phenomenon that will live for epochs. Indian can never kill an idea that has taken deep roots in our hearts and minds.”
People spoke of the outpouring of emotion soon after news of Wani’s death broke. “People ran barefoot to reach the village across the fields for funeral prayers in absentia. But he was present too, in slogans and tears. Eternity is his name now. Resistance is his name. Rest in Power, Commander!” student and blogger Umar Lateef Misgar wrote.
On the other end, there were posts abusing Wani and loaded with suggestions on sending the likes of him to Pakistan.
There wasn’t much real-time tweeting from Wani’s hometown of Tral in south Kashmir, observers said, as mobile internet services were snapped on Friday itself.
During his time as his outfit’s top operative in the Valley, 21-year-old Wani was a constant presence on social media, posting images of himself armed and dressed in battle fatigue, exhorting the youth to join the “holy war” via audio and video messages.