Won’t target Amarnath pilgrims, says Hizb commander Burhan

Burhan Wani, a wanted Hizbul Mujahideen commander, released a video on Tuesday in which he justifies attacks on the police and warns the media against calling militants ‘terrorists’.

In a six-minute video that has gone viral on social media, Wani, 21, in a white T-shirt seated on a chair with white back ground condemns Jammu & Kashmir Police “for working against the militants”. He has been asking the youth to join “militancy” and help set up a “caliphate” (Islamic rule).

Although a Kashmiri, Wani speaks in Urdu in the video. He’s suspected of having joined the Islamic State- a suspicion buttressed by his call for caliphate.

Burhan Wani carries a Rs 10 lakh reward on his head. Expressing his “gratitude” to Kashmiris, especially the youth, Wani says, “In our last video, we had warned police and asked them to stay away from anti-freedom movement activities, but they didn’t give any heed. Policemen are forcing us to attack them and now we will not warn them any more. I ask them not to harass youth, not to create ‘naka’ (posts) and stay inside in the camps.”

He said the policemen are part of Kashmir but “they don’t understand the policy of India that is pleased every time a militant or a local policeman gets killed here.” The Hizb commander also said his men have no plans to attack Amarnath pilgrims. “They are pilgrims and we won’t attack them. But if Sainik colonies or separate colonies on the pattern of Israel are created for Hindus, we’ll target them. Pandits can come here and live in their respective places,” Burhan said.

Confirming that one of his aides, Tariq Pandit, was arrested by the Army, Burhan said Tariq got some of the militant sympathizers arrested but “it won’t affect the organization”. Burhan cautioned the media saying militants are not terrorists. “This land is ours. Kashmir is ours. We are not terrorists but it is the Army that are terrorists.”

A school drop-out from South Kashmir’s Tral, Burhan is seen as the new face of militancy in Kashmir. He left home in 2010, days ahead of his Class 10 examination to join the Hizb. The militants, particularly HM outfit during ten days, killed nine security force men including six police men and three BSF jawans in various terror attacks.

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