Family members of one of the oldest surviving militants of Kashmir, Burhan-ud-Din Mohammad, said that he was forced to join militancy in his teen age due to atrocities committed by government forces.
Father of the divisional commander of Hizb-ul-Mujahidin for south Kashmir , Mohammad Muzaffar Wani, said atrocities committed by government forces pushed his son into joining militant ranks at the age of 16 when he was in class 10th.
“Burhan was pushed into joining militancy by government forces,” said Muzaffar Wani. ‘ I wished to see him as a doctor. He was working hard to fulfill my dream as he used to top in every examination from first standard to class 9th,” he said. Burhan had secured 94 percent marks in 8th from district institute of education and trainings Pampore and his father expected him to score better in 10-th class before he was “pushed by the forces to join militancy. ’’
Muzaffar said that Burhan refused to sit for the 10th examination after he and his borther were beaten to pulp by the personnel of central reserve police force (CRPF) and special operations group (SOG), a counter insurgency wing of Jammu and Kashmir
“It was in September 2010 that Burhan along with his brother, Khalid and a friend were riding a bike at a village in Tral area of Pulwama when they were stopped by SOG men,” said Muzaffar , adding that they asked them to bring cigarette and biscuits . He said that they weren’t allowed to go after they had brought cigarette and biscuits from another village. “They were thrashed with sticks, Burhan managed to escape but his brother
Khalid, who was riding the bike faced the brunt of SOG and CRPF men,’’
he said. “ Khalid was severely beaten; he remained bed ridden for 15 days and Burhan’s thumb was fractured in the incident.’’
Muzaffar said that after the incident Burhan would often seek explanation from elders asking for the reasons “security men beat them and they had no answer to his questions.’’
“We did our best to persuade him to forget the episode as a bad dream. We told him that such things are very common in Kashmir. We failed to convince him as he would always talk about taking revenge,” Muzaffar said. The father said that one day he left home and didn’t return. “We learnt that he has joined militant ranks,” he said.
The relatives of Burhan continued to persuade him to surrender. They said that on 13 April this year his elder brother, Khalid met Burhan in some forest for persuading him to join back mainstream. Khalid was killed by security forces in an alleged fake encounter in the forest.
“Eleven boys can’t defeat an army of 11 lakh, they know they have to die but they want to die with dignity. The message is clear. The educated youth of Kashmir would prefer death to life of humiliation,’’ the relatives said.