IHK under curfew, phones blocked to pre-empt protest
SRINAGAR – Indian-held Kashmir imposed a curfew on Friday and blocked mobile phone services to stop people from gathering in the streets and stage protests over the killing of a young Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by security forces.
At least 34 people have been killed and 3,100 wounded, most of them in police firing, in the worst outbreak of violence in six years in the disputed territory.
Security forces were deployed in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state, to enforce the curfew as well as Anantnag district in the south where Burhan Wani, idolised by some Kashmir youth, was killed in a security operation.
Only people involved in medical emergencies would be allowed to travel, the state government said in a statement to head off protests after Friday prayers.
On Thursday, a mob set fire to a house in Anantnag in which Wani and his associates were killed after a gun battle with government forces, a government spokesman said. An orchard was also attacked on suspicion that some people in the area had given Indian forces information about Wani’s whereabouts.
Militant attacks in Kashmir, which Pakistan also lays claims to, have fallen and are nowhere near the levels of the 1990s when Pakistan-backed militants as well as local groups such as the Hizbul Mujahideen targeted security forces with blasts and gun battles. But separatist leaders say Kashmiris remain alienated and have repeatedly called for three-way talks, including Pakistan, to address grievances. -Reuters