Indian authorities imposed sweeping curfews, cut phone and internet service, and deployed thousands of extra troops across Kashmir as the region braces for mass protests marking the anniversary of a charismatic separatist leader.
SRINAGAR: In occupied Kashmir, the authorities have impounded thousands of bikes and motorbikes besides imposing strict curfew and other restrictions in all parts of the territory to prevent protest rallies a day ahead of the first death anniversary of popular youth leader, Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
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An Indian paramilitary force officer watches as a Kashmiri woman along with her child walks past a barbed-wire road checkpoint set up by Indian security forces in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, July 7, 2017.
Burhan Wani, a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant 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 Kashmir on July 8 a year ago. His killing triggered over five-month long unrest in the Valley during which 90 people were killed and over 13000 injured in forces' action on protestors. "Elsewhere in the valley, restrictions on the movement of people are being strictly enforced", he added.
The holidays coincide with a protest schedule issued by the United Jehad Council (UJC), an amalgam of militant organisations operating in the Valley. "Police resorted to tear gas shelling", said a local requesting anonymity. Wani, the chief commander of the notorious Hizbul Mujahidden, who was killed a year ago and his death sparked violence in the valley.
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Kashmir has been divided between Pakistan and India since the end of British rule in 1947.
"The continuous absence of political engagement in Kashmir and the continuous denial on part of Delhi that says there is nothing to be addressed politically has made the situation more complex in the past one year", according to Bukhari.
Authorities have suspended mobile internet as well as broadband services across the Valley to "prevent any law and order disturbance".
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He said that Wani's sacrifice also posed a question; whether Kashmiris were not human beings or did not enjoy basic human rights! The Indian government said that Islamabad was praising a terrorist belonging to a prohibited terrorist group.