Fourteen days after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani, a poster showing a group of Hizbul Mujahideen militants, announcing they “would continue to the challenge the enemy”, appeared in Shopian district.
The poster, which shows eleven militants holding AK-47 assault rifles and wearing army fatigues, sitting in what looks like an orchard, is similar to the one in which Burhan posed with 10 of his associates, the majority of whom were killed in gunfights.
Burhan’s picture, also shot in an orchard, went viral on social media networking sites last year.
“We will continue the war and keep challenging our enemy. We will snatch our rights and show the world,” the poster, signed on letterhead of Hizbul Mujahideen, said.
The government forces had declared Burhan’s killing as a setback to the militant outfit, but a senior counterinsurgency police official disagrees. He said militant outfit has got “emboldened” because of the massive public support they drew over Burhan’s killing.
“It will be a big challenge to contain post-Burhan situation. His death has created an atmosphere which will only help militants to expand their bases,” he said.
The 11 faces, whose identity is not known yet in the poster signal that the outfit would continue to follow Burhan’s model of shedding anonymity. The slain chief was responsible for bringing militancy online by using social media. He would upload photos and videos on social media, which the government agencies said led to recruitment of local youth into militancy.
As many as 100 recruits, mostly in south Kashmir, where Burhan operated, had joined militancy during his term to challenge the Indian rule in the region.
During his term, the waning militancy received popular support with people coming to the rescue of trapped militants during gunfights. So much so the government cut a sorry figure especially during the longest Pampore fidayeen attack on a government installation, forcing the authorities to impose section 144 crpc in the 2.5 km radius of the site of a gunfight.