July 2017 News

Clashes As Protesters Mark Militant's Death

8 July 2017
Sanjoy Majumder

Srinagar: Clashes have broken out in Indian-administered Kashmir on the anniversary of the killing of a militant leader. The security forces are reported to have used tear gas against stone-throwing protesters. They also surrounded the hometown of Burhan Wani, 22, who was killed fighting Indian troops last year. Separately seven people are reported to have been killed in shelling across the Line of Control that divides Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Officials on the Pakistani side told Reuters that five people died in Indian shelling, while Indian officials say two people were killed by Pakistani fire. There has been an armed revolt in the Muslim-majority region against rule by India since 1989, although violence has waned in recent years. The disputed region is claimed by both India and Pakistan in its entirety. India blames Pakistan for fuelling the unrest, a claim denied by Islamabad. Burhan Wani is credited with reviving the image of militancy in Muslim-majority Indian-administered Kashmir, becoming a figurehead for young people. Saturday's violence started as people tried to walk to his home in Tral - where he died in a shootout with the army last July. His death led to a wave of protests during which dozens of people were killed. The Indian authorities imposed heavy restrictions in the Kashmir valley for the anniversary, stopping internet access and sealing off Tral. There have also been reports of army personnel being injured in a militant attack overnight on Friday. * Born to a highly-educated upper-class Kashmiri family * Reported to have been driven to militancy at the age of 15, after his brother and he were beaten up by police 'for no reason' * He was extremely active on social media, and unlike other militants, did not hide his identity behind a mask * India considered Wani a terrorist, but for many locals he represented the spirit and political aspirations of a new Kashmiri generation * Indian officials have admitted that he was instrumental in persuading local boys to take up arms against India