Kashmir tense after scholar-turned-militant’s killing

Kashmir tense after scholar-turned-militant’s killing

Clashes between protesters and forces in Anchar area of Soura in Srinagar on Friday. Umer Asif

Amid shutdown, clashes and restrictions, tension prevailed in Kashmir on Friday, a day after AMU scholar-turned-Hizbul commander Manan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces in northern Kupwara district.

While separatists had called for a Valley-wide strike on Friday, authorities imposed restrictions in volatile areas of Srinagar Lolab and Kupwara town to prevent any protests against the killing of Manan, who hailed from Tikipora village of Kupwara.

Reports said clashes erupted in parts of Kupwara district, including Tikipora after congregational Friday prayers. Youth took to streets in Sogam, Tekkipora, Kupwara main market and Regipora areas of the district to protest the killing of Manan and his aide in a gunfight yesterday, reports added.

Authorities also imposed restrictions in Nowhatta area of old city Srinagar to prevent people from offering congregational Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid. While criticizing the government move, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq alleged the “repression of New Delhi has pushed Kashmiri youth to armed resistance and a cycle of death and loss.”

“Even as Kashmir shuts to mourn scholar shaheed Manan wani, downtown under strict curfew prayers at Jamia Masjid again barred for the 15th Friday this year while arbitrary arrests PSAs on activists, suspension of Kashmiri students from universities, repeated closure of colleges and universities to disallow dissent continues unabated. This repression coupled with intransigence of Govt of India pushes young boys to armed resistance and a cycle of death and loss,” he wrote on Twitter.

Reports said funeral prayers in absentia were held for Manan in Anantnag town of south Kashmir. Authorities had suspended class work in all the schools and colleges in Srinagar, Kupwara, Budgam, Pulwama, Ganderbal, Baramulla and Bandipora today “as a precautionary measure” while Kashmir University ordered suspension of class work at all its campuses.

All shops and other business establishments are closed while public transport is off the roads in capital city Srinagar. Similar reports were received from other districts of the Valley.

The authorities also suspended mobile Internet services in Kupwara while the speed was restricted to 2G in other areas. The intra-Kashmir train services also remained suspended due to apprehension violence.

Manan was enrolled as a PhD scholar with the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) before joining Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit in January this year. He was killed in an encounter with his associate in Shatgund village of Kupwara district on Thursday.

In January this year, 27-year-old Manan’s announcement trough social media about his joining indigenous Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant outfit not only came as a shock for his family, but to the entire Kashmir. An outstanding student throughout his career, within no time Manan was among the most discussed narrative of militancy in the social media, and it earned him fame in the valley.

Manan, who hailed from a well-off family of Tekipora in Lolab, Kupwara, was being projected as the new poster boy of the militancy in Kashmir by Hizbul Mujahideen after Burhan Wani, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in July 2016.