Updated: July 9, 2016 3:55:32 pm
Authorities imposed an indefinite curfew in most parts of Kashmir on Saturday after security forces killed the top militant commander, officials said.
Thousands of armed police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear fanned out across most towns and villages, including Srinagar. They laid razor wire and erected steel barricades on the streets and drove through neighborhoods warning residents to stay indoors.
Burhan Wani, chief of operations of Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed in fighting Friday after military troops, acting on a tip, cordoned a forested village in the southern Kashmir’s Kokernag area, said Police Director-General K. Rajendra.
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Two other militants were also killed, he said.
In his early 20’s, Wani had become the face of militancy in Kashmir over the last five years. He was a household name and his video clips and pictures were widely circulated among young people in Kashmir.
Unlike the militant leaders of the early 1990s, Wani did not cover his face in videos widely circulated on cellphones.
Inspector-General Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani described his killing as the “biggest success against militants” in recent years.
As news of his death spread, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in several places in Kashmir, denouncing his killing.
Officials, fearing that the killing could lead to violent protests suspended the Amarnath yatra.
Officials also suspended cellphone services in southern parts of Kashmir and blocked mobile internet in rest of the region to prevent demonstrators from mobilizing.
Shops, businesses, schools and government offices were shut following the security lockdown and a general strike called by separatists. Authorities also postponed school and college examinations and suspended rail services.
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