Hizbul's `poster boy' Burhan Wani killed

A 21 year-old, tech-savvy face of home-grown terrorism in Kashmir, who circulated videos on social media and drew educated young men and even toppers into joining his ranks, was killed at Bumdora in Anantnag district on Friday .
Sources said Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani was gunned down in a firefight that was triggered after the Rashtriya Rifles and Jammu & Kashmir police launched a joint operation following a specific input. J&K police chief K Rajendra said Wani was killed along with two others. The identity of one of them was unclear while the other was identified as Sartaj Ahmad.
Wani was killed soon after he tweeted his support for televangelist Zakir Naik, whom the Dhaka attack terrorists deemed as an “inspiration“.Wani ran a Twitter account surreptitiously , which the intelligence agencies were monitoring constantly . Wani created Twitter handle @Gazi_Burhan2 in October 2012. He had 358 followers and he followed 119 people, with Naik being the latest among them.
On Friday , Wani tweeted a picture of Naik with the text, “Support Zakir Naik or Time Will Come When Qur'an Recitation Will Be Banned ''
That he was following the Dhaka attack and the subsequent controversy revolving around Naik is evident from the fact that he tweeted his support for Naik on July 7.
Wani often tweeted propaganda material, mostly graphic pictures of violence in Kashmir and retweeted Andrabi's tweets. Wani posted anti-India and anti-Modi content.
The 21-year-old belonged to a wealthy family in south Kashmir's Tral and represented the changing profile of homegrown terrorists, who are young, educated and locally trained. He had joined HM when he was just 15 after Army soldiers had reportedly assaulted his brother in 2010.Over the years, Wani gained a cult following on social media.
Wani was a major source of concern for security forces, who had announced a Rs.10 lakh reward for information leading to his arrest. Son of a headmaster, Wani was among the most-wanted even though he is believed to have never fired a shot. He repeatedly released videos asking youngsters to join jihad for a caliphate. His popularity and effective use of social media had rattled the security forces.
An officer said there was a “strong urgency“ in stopping the trend Wani represented.The police had recently approached a court to block Wani's Facebook pages, which glorified terrorists.
Wani had released his last video on June 7. It showed him wearing a white T-shirt and sitting on a chair in a white backdrop. He had justified attacks on J&K police while warning the media against calling them terrorists. “This land is ours.Kashmir is ours. We are not terrorists but it is the Army that are terrorists.“ Wani condemned J&K police for working against them in the six minute 17 second video that went viral on WhatsApp and Facebook.
Sources said the killing of Wani, a school dropout who had left his home in 2010 days ahead of his Class X examination, would discourage recruitment of locally-trained recruitment of locally-trained militants. Separatist Syed Ali Geelani called for a shutdown on Saturday against Wani's killing and asked people to participate in his funeral prayers.

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