A partial to complete shutdown disrupted normal life across Kashmir Valley on Wednesday to commemorate militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on his 4th death anniversary.
The authorities snapped internet services partially in four districts of south Kashmir-Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian- and also in northwestern town of Sopore as a ‘precautionary measures’. The reinforcements from J&K police and Central armed police forces were earlier fanned out across the Valley to maintain peace, the official sources said.
None of the separatist organizations or leaders had issued a call for the strike. On Tuesday, an open letter attributed to separatist patriarch Syed Ali Shah Geelani, calling for a shutdown in the Valley on Burhan Wani's death anniversary on Wednesday and again on Kashmir Martyrs Day on July 13, had gone viral. But the J&K police were quick to step in, informing the people that it was a fake letter. The police also said that they have filed a case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and for public mischief under Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Burhan, the 22-year-old Internet savvy poster boy of frontline indigenous militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, was along with two associates killed by the security forces in Kokernag area of Anantnag district on July 8, 2016, triggering widespread unrest in Kashmir and parts of Chenab valley of Jammu region during which more than eighty people were killed, most of them in security forces’ actions.
Wani’s killing also inspired hundreds of Kashmir’s youth to join militants’ ranks. However, the tough counterinsurgency campaign being spearheaded by the Army and other security forces has caused a heavy toll on militants during the past three years.
The officials say that as many as 139 militants have been killed in counterinsurgency operations across J&K, so far, this year. Thirty-two security personnel and thirteen unarmed civilians also died during this period.
The Narendra Modi government has played tough also on separatist political leadership. Most separatist leaders have been jailed or placed under house detention.
The government cracked down hard on the entire separatist camp before and after it stripped J&K of its special status and split it up into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019. It has also sought to sideline the mainstream Kashmiri politicians, many of whom were even incarcerated immediately before or after the Government’s contentious August 5 move.
The government continues to give them a cold shoulder and their pleas for initiating dialogue on issues confronting J&K have been ignored by it, creating a political vacuum in the erstwhile restive state.