Young guns turn into poster boys of militancy in Kashmir

Young guns turn into poster boys of militancy in Kashmir

 Kashmir valley's bloodied folklore has it that he took 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.

Four years down the line, Burhan Wani, 19, is a youth icon referred to as "Robinhood" of Tral, who opens fire only to fight injustice.

Khalid, Burhan's elder brother was allegedly picked up during an operation by the security forces in 2011 and was made to do squats. Burhan, then about 15 years of age, took it to the heart and turned a militant, whose name now spells terror in Tral, the new training ground for terrorists in the restive valley.

Khalid was gunned down by security forces two years back when he had gone to meet Burhan, who managed to escape.

Innumerable images of Burhan and posts extolling him were uploaded on social networking sites like Facebook which the security agencies have got removed but that has not erased his popularity.

"This town has had a presence of banned Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists always and recently Burhan Wani has emerged as the poster boy for the terror outfit," said a senior police officer.

Irshad Ahmed Ganai, 21, is another young man about whom similar stories abound.
From Kakapora in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, Irshad, an unemployed youth, took to arms a few years ago and rapidly rose through the ranks to become a commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit.
The law enforcement agencies rubbish the "Bollywood-style" tale of circumstances in which Burhan took to arms, saying he had Jamaat-e-Islami background and militancy was only a natural progression.

Tral, located 12 kilometres from the National Highway connecting the valley with rest of India, has emerged as the new training ground for various terror outfits in south Kashmir. Boys do not need to cross over to Pakistan any more and get to know the basics of militancy and arms training in the thick jungles of Bujkamla surrounding the sleepy town, says the police. They are sometimes taken to the forests in the higher reaches of Shopian too.
Burhan and Irshad, with an appeal among the youth of the region, are now helping swell the militant ranks, a development close watchers of Kashmir feel, carry grim portents for the valley.

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