Wednesday, December 7

Strike disrupts normal life in Kashmir on death anniversary of Burhan Wani

NEW DELHI: Normal life was disrupted in Kashmir on Sunday in response to a strike called by separatists to mark the second death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani while authorities imposed restrictions in parts of the valley.

According to a Hindustan Times report, The Amarnath pilgrimage from Jammu was also suspended for a day following the call for a shutdown. “In view of law and order situation in South Kashmir where three civilians died in clashes with security forces on Saturday and militant Burhan Wani’s death anniversary, no fresh batch of pilgrims was allowed from Yatri Niwas base camp in Jammu on Sunday,” said an official at the Yatri Niwas control room.

Only pilgrims already in Baltal and Pahalgam will be allowed to move towards the cave shrine. Mobile Internet services were suspended throughout Kashmir as a precautionary measure, while security forces were deployed in strength at sensitive places across the valley to avoid any untoward incident. Separatists on Saturday had given a call for strike on Sunday across Kashmir on the second death anniversary of the Hizbul commander. Director general of police Shesh Paul Vaid said that the decision to suspend the yatra from Jammu was taken in view of the law and order situation in Kashmir.

Last year, a militant attack on a bus in Anantnag left at least seven pilgrims dead. The pilgrims were returning from the cave shrine of Amarnath. This year the CRPF have gone for radio frequency tagging of vehicles for the Amarnath yatra to keep track of the pilgrims. Till date, 83,130 pilgrims have paid obeisance at the shrine. The current edition of the pilgrimage which began on June 28 has been blighted by bad weather. Normal life was disrupted in Kashmir as authorities imposed restrictions in parts of the valley.

Restrictions have been imposed in five police station areas of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal and Maharajgunj of Srinagar’s old city areas. The official said restrictions were imposed in Pulwama and Tral townships of Pulwama district in south Kashmir as well as precautionary measures to maintain law and order.

Burhan Wani who was a resident of Tral and the poster boy of militancy in Kashmir, was killed in an encounter with security forces in Kokernag area of Anantnag district on July 8, 2016. His killing triggered massive protests and prolonged period of curfews and shutdowns across the valley. Almost a hundred people were killed and thousands others were injured in daily clashes between security forces and protestors for a period of over four months.

Separatists under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) also asked people to observe Sunday as a black day following the killing of three youth, including a girl, in alleged firing by security forces at Kulgam on Saturday.

The police official said public transport was off the roads, while few private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying in some areas of Srinagar. Similar reports of shutdown were received from other district headquarters of the valley, he said. Separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are under house arrest, while Yasin Malik was detained from his residence on Friday and remains in custody.