A complete shutdown, marked by curfew imposed by Indian forces, was observed across occupied Kashmir on Monday to commemorate the third martyrdom anniversary of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, an iconic young mujahid commander, Kashmir Media Service (KMS) reported.
The shutdown call was issued by the Joint Resistance Leadership in order to pay tribute to Wani and his associates. Wani, who was chief of operations in Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest and mainly indigenous fighter group in Indian-occupied Kashmir, was martyred along with two other colleagues by the Indian army during an alleged encounter in Bamdoora village of held Kashmir’s Kokernag area on July 8, 2016.
The authorities sealed Wani's house as well as the graveyard where he is buried in his hometown Tral. All roads leading to the town were also completely blocked with concertina wires to prevent people from marching towards his house.
According to KMS, internet services in Islamabad (Anantnag), Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian districts were also suspended. In Srinagar, Indian forces arrested two young men for putting up pro-Wani posters.
Thousands of Indian soldiers, paramilitary forces and police personnel were deployed across occupied Kashmir to enforce strict curfew. Special restrictions were placed in areas falling under the jurisdiction of police stations, including Maisuma, KralKhud, Khanyar, Nowahatta, SafaKadal, Maharaj Gunj and Rainawari in Srinagar.
Despite restrictions, thousands of posters carrying Wani's pictures, saying 'March Towards Tral', were seen on highways and streets of major cities in occupied Kashmir, including Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kulgam and Islamabad as well as other districts and cities, KMS said. In Wani's hometown Tral, graffiti portraying his face and messages of support emerged on shutters and walls.
The son of a school headmaster, Wani had become the iconic face of armed struggle in Indian-occupied Kashmir since 2011. Dressed in military fatigues and holding assault guns, he would regularly post video messages on social media sites and invite young men to join anti-India struggle.
In the wake of his martyrdom, the held territory underwent the longest ever curfew of more than 100 days during which scores of people were mercilessly killed and injured by the occupation forces while trying in vain to suppress massive anti-India protest demonstrations.
Contrary to New Delhi’s assumptions, Wani’s elimination is believed to have revitalised the popular anti-India movement with the inclusion of hundreds of educated youngsters.