Don’t mention Burhan Wani in communications, MHA tells agencies

The move, officials said, followed the “glorification” of Wani not only within the Valley but also by Pakistan at international forums, including the UN, and by terror groups based in Pakistan using Wani’s name on social media.

Written by Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi | Updated: June 16, 2017 4:59 am
Burhan Wani, Kashmir unrest, Kashmir violence, militant Burhan Wani, terrorist Burhan Wani, Burhan Wani martyr, National Conference, Hizbul Mujahideen-Burhan Wani, India news, Indian Express A picture of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani is held up during a rally condemning the violence in Kashmir, in Islamabad, Pakistan July 24, 2016. File photo/REUTERS/Caren Firouz

The Union Home Ministry has directed its division and security agencies not to mention Burhan Wani’s name in any written communication, anticipating trouble ahead of the first anniversary of the killing of the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander.

Officials said he would be referred to as one of the militants killed in an encounter along with two others. A senior home ministry official explained, “For all future references, the incidents will be recorded as an encounter of three militants on July 8 and not Burhan Wani. It is much safer as the government is not committing to anything even if at a later stage the information supplied regarding the name and the organisation to which the militant belongs turns out to be inaccurate.”

The move, officials said, followed the “glorification” of Wani not only within the Valley but also by Pakistan at international forums, including the UN, and by terror groups based in Pakistan using Wani’s name on social media. More than 88 local youths were reported to have taken up arms following the unrest in the valley started after the encounter of Wani on July 8 last year, according to MHA.

The Home Ministry directed its officials not to make any reference to Wani’s name in replies of Parliament questions in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, said officials, adding that they have even been instructed not to mention the Hizbul Mujahideen in any official communication or dissemination of information to public, including the RTI Act.

In a written reply to a Parliament question last year, minister of state (External Affairs) Gen (retd) V K Singh had mentioned Wani and stated, “In the wake of the death of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8, 2016, senior functionaries of the Government of Pakistan apparently addressed letters to United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, the President of the UN Security Council in New York and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva urging the international community to address the alleged human rights violations during protests in Jammu and Kashmir since July 8….”

Singh was replying to a question raised by Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule, Rajeev Satav and others on August 10, 2016, nearly a month after the killing of Wani. Similarly, M J Akbar, the minister of state (External Affairs) in September last year mentioned Wani at a press conference in the permanent mission of India to the UN. Akbar was replying to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the UN General Assembly which referred Hizbul commander as a “young leader”.

The Home Ministry has made elaborate security arrangements and instructed the Jammu and Kashmir police and central security forces to remain vigilant ahead of the Wani’s anniversary.

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