Unprecedented security in Kashmir ahead of Burhan Wani’s first death anniversary: India puts Kashmir in lockdown

Authorities clamped curfew in three towns including Tral, the native town of Wani, in Pulwama district in Kashmir and imposed restrictions on the movement of people in the rest of the Valley to foil the separatists’ plan to hold a rally on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.

Sources in state police said authorities were likely to impose restrictions in Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Sopore, Bandipora, Kupwara, Ganderbal and some other towns of the Valley to ward off protests called by the separatists on Saturday.

High alert was sounded throughout the Kashmir Valley on Friday and unprecedented security arrangements put in place to maintain law and order ahead of slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s first death anniversary.

Unprecedented security in Kashmir ahead of Burhan Wani's first death anniversary India
Image courtesy:abcNews .soldiers and police on high alert

 

Alarmed by the events of last year, the Union Home Ministry has sent over 20,000 additional central armed forces to augment the existing security set-up in the Valley.

To keep the militants at bay, a multi-layered security set-up drawn from the army, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Sashastra Seema Bal, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the state police is manning the 286-km-long Jammu-Srinagar national highway which is the lifeline of supplies to the Valley and the only road link used by the pilgrims of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra.

This 8th July marks the first death anniversary of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen. Before the Jammu and Kashmir plummeted into a state of chaos lasting 7 months, with the state government having to face the wrath of people who came in support of the chocolate-faced militant. Known for his penchant for videos which went viral on social media sites, he even recruited 100 Kashmiri youth.

Wani, who attracted dozens of new recruits while using Facebook and other social media sites, had rejuvenated Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest of Kashmir’s militant groups. Its topmost leader based in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, Syed Salahuddin, was recently designated as the “global terrorist” by the U.S.

Burhan Muzaffar Wani, was a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, a Kashmir based militant outfit. He was popular among the Kashmiris due to his activity onsocial media where he advocated against Indian rule in Kashmir. He was killed in an encounter with the Indian security forces on 8 July 2016.

Burhan was killed in a planned/co-incidental operation on 8 July 2016 along with two other fighters later identified as Sartaj Ahmad Sheikh and Pervaiz Ahmad Lashkari. He and his accomplices were killed in Bumdoora village in Kokernag area, by a joint team of the special operations group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and 19 Rashtriya Rifles, since then civilians have played an increasingly active role in the rebellion against Indian rule.

Widespread protests erupted in the Kashmir valley after his death, causing 2016 unrest in valley for nearly half a year, in which more than 90 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 Indian authorities that was lifted from all parts of the region on 31 August 2016.

On 12 July 2016, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a statement expressed ‘shock’ over the killing of Burhan Wani which was criticised by the Indian government. Sharif called Wani a “martyr” on 15 July 2016.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs in response criticized Pakistan for “glorifying” terrorists belonging to proscribed terrorist organisations. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized the media alleging it was portraying the slain Wani as a ‘hero’.

Authorities in India-administered Kashmir have ordered service providers to indefinitely block the internet ahead of a planned rally to observe the first anniversary of popular rebel commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani ,whose killing in 2016 sparked months-long anti-India demonstrations in the disputed region.

Indian-occupied Kashmir  separatist leaders,most of whom have been either confined to their homes or jailed ahead of the anniversary,have called for a week of protests from Saturday to mark Wani’s death.

India has deployed two additional army battalions, about 2,000 troops, to troubled regions in the southern IOK area.

All the examinations scheduled for today have been postponed by universities.

The joint separatist camp, including Hurriyat Conference factions led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik-led JKLF, has asked the people to march to Tral to pay tributes to Wani, who was killed in an encounter with security forces on this day last year.

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