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More Chaos in the Valley

On Friday, Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with the armed forces. The operation had begun in Bumdoora village, where the militants were believed to be hiding. Army personnel arrived at the spot and the militants started firing at them. A the gunbattle that ensued, Wani was killed along with two of his associates, Adil Sheikh and Adil Reshi. The 21-year-old leader had gained popularity for his online videos asking young Kashmiri men to join the militant outfit. He had started being referred to as the new face of militancy in the state. He hailed from Tral in southern Kashmir and came from a wealthy family. Wani joined the group at the age of 15 after his brother was allegedly assaulted by the Indian Army. The government had earlier announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for any information on him.

In the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen’s commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on Friday, the State police on Sunday said it would like to avoid the killing of the youth and urged protesters not to resort to violence as it does not bring the right consequences. As the news of Wani's death broke, the Valley plunged into chaos. Defying the curfew, thousands of people were out on streets across the Valley, mosques rang with pro-Burhan, pro-freedom slogans, and crowds pelted stones at security forces. As protests continued on Saturday, and vast numbers made their way to Tral for Wani’s funeral, security forces opened fire killing least 18 protesters.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that extrajudicial killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and scores of other innocent Kashmiris is deplorable and condemnable and that Pakistan reiterates that resolution of J&K dispute is only possible by realisation of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav termed the situation “unfortunate and saddening.” The party leader said restraint and calm should be the motto of the people and the police.“People in the valley should help bring normalcy. Restraint and calm should be the motto of people and the police. Government wants peaceful and terror-free J&K for progress”. He also tweeted, “Loss of lives in South Kashmir unfortunate and saddening. We have to develop non-lethal ways of tackling such situations. Police too suffer heavily”.  

Wani, a twenty-one-year young militant of Hizbul Mujahedeen, is understood to have joined their ranks after security forces harassed him and his brother. He vowed vengeance. The bloodshed on the day of his funeral that claimed at eighteen lives and left around 200 people, including security force personnel wounded, is a hint at a festering crisis. As per a report in The Indian Express, Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani could become the rallying point of a renewed indigenous militancy and give rise to a potent theme for fresh recruitment. Support is also counted in the attendance at funerals, the serpentine procession of mourners trailing behind the bodies of dead militants.

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Sunday appealed to separatist Hurriyat Conference, besides mainstream parties, to assist in its efforts towards restoring normalcy in the state, which has been rocked by violent protests following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani. In Delhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the situation in the Valley and spoke to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, assuring her of all possible help.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said in a statement, “The pain of Kashmiris has reached a level where the hope of peace is sure to gain substantial local support if tangible confidence building measures are taken to address the issues concerning the state and its people.”
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