July 07, 2017

Clampdown in Kashmir ahead of Burhan Wani’s death anniversary

SRINAGAR: Indian authorities on Friday shut down the internet in Occupied Kashmir and sealed off the hometown of a slain fighter a day before the anniversary of his killing by the army, which had fuelled further unrest across the Himalayan region.

Burhan Wani, a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen group best known for appearing on social media in military fatigues to urge young people to join the fight against Indian forces, was killed in southern Kashmir on July 8 last year.

On Friday, police halted people´s movements in his hometown of Tral, in a bid to forestall gatherings and demonstrations, witnesses said.

A security alert has been enforced across the Kashmir Valley, with some preventive arrests made ahead of Saturday´s anniversary, police inspector general Muneer Ahmad Khan said.

"The alert is not only for unlawful assembly of people and rallies but also for militant strikes," he said.

Late on Thursday, authorities ordered internet service providers to shut down data services in Kashmir, citing the risk of anti-India forces using social media to stir up unrest.

India has been struggling to restore normalcy in Kashmir, deploying thousands more soldiers, after Wani´s killing appeared to breathe new life into the 28-year armed revolt that had ebbed and was drifting, with little international attention.

Witnesses said most shops were closed in Srinagar, the region´s summer capital, with traffic thin ahead of the anniversary.

Authorities have restricted the movement of people in the city´s old quarter, which has often erupted in violence.



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