Curfew has been imposed in large parts of Srinagar city and several areas of south Kashmir amid tension after Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a 22-year-old commander of the terror group Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed in an operation on Friday, in a big breakthrough for security forces.
Wani, who featured in videos circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp aimed at recruiting young Kashmiri men for terror, was hunted down by security forces in an intelligence-led operation and killed along with two other militants in Anantnag, south Kashmir, on Friday afternoon, the police said.
There have been reports of overnight clashes between protesters and security forces in many parts of south Kashmir. The mobile internet services were blocked across the Valley. The ongoing Amarnath Yatra has also been suspended temporarily.
Wani was among the most wanted militants in Jammu and Kashmir though he may personally have never fired a single shot, the police said. Wani, whose father was a school principal, joined the Hizbul Mujahideen at the age of 15 after his brother was allegedly assaulted by securitymen in 2010.
Born to a well-off family in Tral in the southern part of Kashmir, Wani represented the disturbing profile of young, educated local boys in the Kashmir Valley, many of them school toppers, taking up arms.
Wani was seen to be the man steering them. He and his accomplices used social media as a weapon of war, posing with weapon and releasing videos taunting security forces.
None of them crossed over to Pakistan for training in terror camps unlike militants in the past. But where they were operationally weak, they were physically strong, commanding a near cult following among radicalised young Kashmiris.
For the first time in years, local militants outnumber foreign terrorists in Kashmir and much of it is seen as Burhan Wani’s influence.
There was a 10-lakh reward for information leading to his arrest.