Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, the new face of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, has released a video asking youngsters to join the fight for establishing a ‘khilafat’ (Islamic empire) in the region.
The Hizbul Mujahideen's most wanted commander condemned Kashmiris, including personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Police, for working against them.
Asking youngsters to join the militancy and help set up a caliphate, Wani said people like him had “sacrificed” their future for Kashmir. “If you can't join us, help us in whatever way you can,” he said in the video lasting a little more than five minutes.
The 21-year-old, who carries a Rs 10 lakh bounty on his head, is adept at using social media and keeps releasing audio and video messages. The new video is the latest in a series.
Burhan Wani: The new face of Kashmiri militancy in virtual world
Police have approached court to block Facebook pages glorifying militants to counter Wani’s propaganda.
In a video reminiscent of messages released by other jihadi leaders such as slain Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, Wani is seen in combat fatigues, flanked by two armed guards and with a holy Quran at his side.
After thanking local Kashmiris, including Sikhs, for their “support'”, he quotes from the Quran to claim that fighting against India is the duty of every Muslim. “I urge ulema (Muslim scholars) to either tell the truth to people or keep quiet,” he said.
Police sources said Wani has recruited at least 30 young boys from southern Jammu and Kashmir. Some of them were killed but many are still active, they said.
Wani started using the social media at the age of 16. Pictures of him in fatigues and rifles went viral some years ago. Known as a top recruiter in the Kashmir Valley, he is part of the breed of educated youth who joined militancy after the 2010 street protests.
Reports suggest Wani, a bright student, budding cricketer and the son of a school headmaster, took to militancy after security forces assaulted his brother Khalid during the unrest five years ago.
“Some policemen stopped the brothers, who were then teenagers, and one of them pounced on Khalid to draw sadistic pleasure from scaring the boys. The shock knocked out Khalid,” said a family friend who did not want to be named.