Burhan Muzaffar Wani was the commander of a Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen.He became popular and appealing among some Kashmiris due to his activity on social media and actions of militancy against India in the Kashmir. He was killed in an encounter at Bamdoora kokernag with the Indian security forces on 8 July 2016 at the age of 22 which made him a hero of Kashmir.Burhan was born in year 1994 at his maternal home dadasara, Tral, Jammu and Kashmir, Killed in Anantnag district and laid to rest at Martyrs graveyard Tral.
It isaid that in his funeral over one lakh people participated.
Widespread protests erupted in the Kashmir valley after Wani’s death, causing 2016 unrest in the valley for nearly half a year,in which more than 96 people died, while over 15,000 civilians and more than 4,000 security personnel were injured.The violence which erupted after his death was described as the worst unrest in the region since the 2010 Kashmir unrest, with Kashmir being placed under 53 consecutive days of curfews imposed by authorities that was lifted from all parts of the region on 31 August 2016.
2. Sabzar Ahmad Bhat
Sabzar Ahmad Bhat was a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group. He joined the ranks the same day when Burhan’s Brother khalid was killed by forces.
He became successor of Burhan and was killed by forces on May 26, 2017 along with his associate Faizan at Saimoh.
Security forces pointed out that 26-year-old Ahmad, a resident of Ruthsana village in Tral, was the brain behind utilising social media as a tool to attract young boys towards militancy. He was marked as an ‘A-category’ militant.
3. Naseer Pandith
In dramatic turnaround of events, Naseer Ahmed Pandit, a resident of Karimabad village of Pulwama decamped with two AK rifles on March 27, 2015 from the residence of PDP Minister Altaf Bukhari’s residence.
On 7 April, 2016, Naseer Ahmad Pandit and Inamul Haq alias Waseem Malla were killed in an encounter with a joint team of local police, CRPF and Rashtriya rifles at Vehil village near Shopian.
4. Waseem Malla
In 2009, Anamul Haq @Waseem was part of the crowds protesting against the rape and murder of Asiya and nelofar. He would go to the bridge across Rambiar Nalla to pelt stones, drawing the attention of the police. In 2010, he left to join militant ranks for the first time. Three days later, he was caught by the police and jailed for four months, as per his family members. But in 2012, he left again to join the Hizbul Mujahideen, after snatching the rifle of a local policeman. This time, there was no returning.
In 2015, Waseem became one of the 10 militants surrounding Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in the picture that went viral across the Valley. He is standing next to Wani, on the right, long-haired and bearded, a quiet smile on his face. On April 7, 2016, he was killed in an encounter in Vehil, in Shopian, along with Naseer Pandit. After Waseem’s death, security forces described him as one of Wani’s close aides, involved in several attacks on policemen.
5. Aadil khanday
Aadil khanday of Barbug imamsahib joined militant ranks in 2012 and was killed in Manzimpora shopian along with his two associates in 2015.
One among his associates killed was Irshad from Maldera shopian who was post graduate in Islamic studies.
Aadil was a A category militant and was considered to be the main militant recruiter in district shopian.
6. Aafaq Bhat
Aafaq Bhat who joined militants ranks in beginning of year 2015 and was killed just after seven months.
On October 26 this year, Aafaq’s seven month stint with Hizb came to an end when he along with other Hizb militant Abdul Mannan Dar of Shopian was caught in an ambush with the joint party of SOG and army. He was shot by a bullet in his right eye during a fierce gunfight.
Aafaq Ullah, was the one who helped Naseer Pandith, a police constable posted at house of Minister for R&B Altaf Bukhari, to flee with two Rifles and joined ranks.
Holding a Masters degree in Computer Science, Aafaq belonged to the family of a police head constable, Abdul Rashid Bhat.
Hailing from a volatile Karimabad village of district Pulwama in south Kashmir, Aafaq is being recalled as a very modest person who would spend most of his time in religious activities. “He would visit youth at their homes and ask them to offer prayers in mosque.
7. Tariq Pandit
A top Hizbul Mujahideen militant Tariq Pandit, a close aide of the poster boy Burhan Wani, was arrested after he was apprehended surrendered by police in Pulwama.
Considered as a category “A” militant, Pandit figured prominently with Burhan in various pictures and videos that were posted. Pandit carried a cash reward of Rs three lakh for information leading to his arrest.
There were conflicting reports as senior police officials of Pulwama district in South Kashmir said that Pandit had surrendered but the army maintained that he had been apprehended.
Since then tariq is in police custody.
8. Wasim shah
Wasim Shah who was born in a middle-class family of Gul Mohammed Shah, who ran a fruit business. Wasim Shah, according to police was an active supporter of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group since his school days
A college dropout, Shah, was a resident of Heff-Shrimal in Shopian. He is reported to join the militancy in 2014 and was considered as the master planner of 2016 unrest in various parts of South Kashmir, as per the report.
Wasim Shah was carrying a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head. As per the J&K police, he was recruiting fresh cadres for the militant outfit
Shah who was known with a name of Wasim Akram for his heroics in crocket become top commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba, after he was arrested by forces over charges of stone pelting and being in contact in militants, forced him join ranks. He was a militant of A++ category and was active for about 4 years.
Wasim Shah (aged 23), also known as ‘Abu Osama Bhai’ was killed at Litter area in Pulwama along with scholar hafiz Nisar of litter on 14 October 2017.
9. Saddam Padder
Saddam Padder, a top Hizbul Mujahideen militant, was killed on May 6 this year along with four other militants, in Badigam Nagbal area of Shopian district.
Described as a category A++ militant by security agencies, Padder was one of the last few surviving militants featuring in the viral group photo with former slain commander of the outfit Burhan Muzaffar in the middle.
Padder joined militant ranks in the late 2013 and from being a shadow of the slain Burhan Wani, climbed the ladder within the ranks to become one of the most wanted militants in the Kashmir valley.
His name also featured in last year’s most wanted list released by the Army. Eldest among the four children of a well-to-do and influential orchardist in the Heff area of Shopian district, Saddam had dropped out of school a few years before he joined the militant ranks.
His killing was termed as a “great success” and was considered as “master recruiter”.
10. Lateef Dar (named ishfaq hameed in group photo).
Lateef Ahmad Dar alias tiger son of Gh Hassan Dar resident of Dogripora village of South kashmir’s Pulwama district is the one who continues to elude forces among the Burhan group whose picture first went viral on social media.
With the killing of Hizb commander Saddam Padder, Lateef alias Lateef Tiger, survives and remains active from the infamous ‘Burhan group’ and is present in A++ militants carrying bounty of money on his head.
Sources said that after the death of Burhan Muzaffar wani, Lateef has become the close aide of now HM commander Riyaz Naikoo.
In Burhans group, Lateef has been wrongly given name of his friend ishfaq who joined ranks with tiger however was killed with his two associates at Pangzam village of Pulwama district in year 2015.
Lateef tiger a 12th class dropout and a carpenter by profession joined militant ranks along with his friend ishfaq in year 2014.
A local sarpanch was killed and police arrested the duo as according to police both were accompanying the militants who killed sarpanch.
Both were booked under PSA and after spending few months in Kuthua, they were released a day before eid and were asked to report concerned police station after a week however after spending 3 to 4 days at home, they left home and after few days people came to know that they have joined militant ranks.
Ishfaq got killed and Lateef whose many pictures with Burhan wani, Zakir Moosa and Reyaz Naikoo have went virak on is still eluding forces.
Named ishfaq hameed in photograph Lateef dar alias tiger is one of most wanted militants of kashmir and is carrying bounty of 10 lacs on his head.
Anees the only one group who has kept his face hidden and is said to be a militant from Takibal area of Bijbehara in South kashmirs Anantnag district. However no body is sure about it.
Author: Jahangeer Ganie
Jahangeer Ganie is the chief correspondent of The Kashmiriyat for District Pulwama in South Kashmir