Eleven people have died and nearly 200 have been injured in clashes in Kashmir, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani was killed, the police said. Police stations and minority camps have also come under attack, a senior officer said.
Burhan Wani was seen as the main draw for many young and educated boys in South Kashmir turning into militants in recent months.
He featured in videos and photos posing with weapons and taunting security forces, which were circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp in an attempt to recruit young Kashmiri men.
Wani was said to be an expert in using social media and delivered strong speeches.
On the surface, the killing of most wanted Burhan Muzaffar Wani in a joint operation by J&K police and Rashtriya Rifles in Kokernag today is a shot in the arm for the security establishment. But given the current ferment in the Valley, this watershed in the new phase of militancy may set off a new, more volatile phase.
For, in life, Burhan had become the poster boy of new-age militancy, in which educated young men from the Valley took up arms for the first time after the 1990 uprising and trained themselves locally to wage a battle against what they saw as an “occupation”.
His last video appeared on the social network after the killing of three policemen at Anantnag in South Kashmir last month in which he had threatened to carry out more attacks.
Burhan, who carried a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head, is believed to have taken up the gun to avenge his elder brother’s humiliation by the security forces who made him do squats after picking him up for no crime.
In his death, security and political observers say, Burhan could become the rallying point of a renewed indigenous militancy and give rise to a potent theme for fresh recruitment.
Kashmir has been a troubled state ever since Indian independence. Religious and sub nationalist divisions in the society fuelled by insurgency from across the border has led to continuous protests against the government in different forms. Some want Kashmir to be independent, some want to merge with Pakistan while many others want more autonomy under Indian government.
This new development has the potential to make the situation worse. There are no easy solutions and peace in Kashmir, it seems is very very elusive.