Burhan Wani was a young charismatic Kashmiri freedom fighter. He was barely 22 when he achieved martyrdom on July 8, 2016. His meteoric rise to fame was the result of his successful use of social media to motivate and mobilize the Kashmiri youth to shed fear and rise against their Indian oppressors.
On a tip off from an informant, the Indian occupation army closed in on a town in northern Kashmir where Burhan Wani and two of his companions went down in a hail of bullets. So terrified were the Indian occupiers of his presence that they wanted him dead instead of capturing him alive. Burhan may not have wanted it any differently since being captured alive would have meant prolonged torture and death at the hands of the barbaric Hindus.
The Indian army chortled at his death and the media announced it with much fanfare, hoping his death would demoralize the people of Kashmir. It had the exact opposite effect. On July 9, more than 200,000 people, defying curfew, poured into the streets to join his funeral procession. There were also massive protests and rallies in other towns and villages across Kashmir.
Simmering beneath the surface, Kashmir’s struggle received a boost in the martyrdom of Burhan Wani. His death became a catalyst for the latest uprising in which the Kashmiri youth have offered hundreds of martyrs for freedom. The uprising has also exposed the ugly nature of the Indian colonization of Kashmir.