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India orders Kashmir clampdown ahead of Burhan Wani anniversary

SRINAGAR: Indian authorities on Friday shut down the internet in disputed Kashmir and sealed off the hometown of a martyred separatist leader a day before the anniversary of his killing by the army, which had fuelled further unrest across the Himalayan region.

Burhan Wani, a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen group best known for appearing on social media in military fatigues to urge young people to join the fight against Indian forces, embraced martyrdom in southern Kashmir on July 8 last year.

On Friday, police halted people’s movements in his hometown of Tral, in a bid to forestall gatherings and demonstrations, witnesses said.

A security alert has been enforced across the Kashmir Valley, with some preventive arrests made ahead of Saturday’s anniversary, police inspector general Muneer Ahmad Khan said.

“The alert is not only for unlawful assembly of people and rallies but also for militant strikes,” he said.

Late on Thursday, authorities ordered internet service providers to shut down data services in Kashmir.

India has deployed thousands more soldiers, after Wani’s death appeared to breathe new life into the 28-year armed revolt that had ebbed and was drifting, with little international attention.

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