July 2016 News

Kashmir After Wani's Death: Locals Torch House Where Hizb Commander Was Killed

14 July 2016
The Hindustan Times
Toufiq Rashid

Srinagar: Almost a week after a Hizbul Mujahideen commander and two militants were gunned down in an encounter, angry locals burned down the house in which they were cornered by security forces. Locals alleged that Burhan Wani, the Hizb's commander considered a hero by some for his anti-establishment stand, might have been given up by the family who owned the house, leaking information to the police. Confirming the incident, additional director general of police (Crime Investigation Department), SM Sahai, said the house had been torched by some angry protesters in Kokernag. However, the motive behind the attack is yet to be officially ascertained. More details are awaited. Since July 8, when the encounter took place, security forces maintained that they were unaware of the identities of the militants until after they were killed. However, locals alleged that the attack on the house in Bemdoora village in south Kashmir's Kokernag area was a targeted one. They further said that Wani could've been taken alive but was killed after being identified. Wani's death triggered protests immediately, leading to violent protests throughout Kashmir Valley. Despite a curfew being clamped down, locals took on security forces wherever possible. Read | Kashmir unrest: One more youth succumbs to injuries, death toll reaches 37 So far, 37 people have died from injuries sustained in the protests, mostly from bullet wounds. More than 1,400 people have also been injured in the ensuing six days since the encounter, and scores more have been reported missing. Wani was considered a poster boy for the militant outfit fighting for the cause of an independent Kashmir. The 21-year-old had leveraged social media to recruit Kashmiri youth, his videos on Facebook being attributed to the recent spike in locals taking to militancy.