RAWALPINDI – On the first death anniversary of the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, Director General (DG) Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor took to Twitter on Saturday to share the message of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
General Bajwa said that the Kashmiris have right of self-determination. Sacrifices of Burhan Wani and generations against Indian atrocities are a testimony of their resolve, said COAS.
On the other hand, government forces threw tear gas and clashed with stone-throwing protesters in Indian occupied Kashmir, as the volatile Himalayan region marked the anniversary of a Wani.
Thousands of troops have fanned out across Indian-administered Kashmir, where authorities have imposed a widespread curfew and cut off all internet services after separatist leaders called for a week of demonstrations.
Disputed Kashmir has seen an explosion of protests against Indian rule since government forces shot and killed Burhan Wani a year ago.
The death of the charismatic 23-year-old, who had built up a big following on social media, sparked an outpouring of grief and anger that spilled into the streets and led to months of clashes with security forces.
Nearly 100 people died in the months that followed and many more sustained serious eye injuries from the pellet guns used by government forces to quell the protests.
Separatist leaders — most of whom were either confined to their homes or detained in the run-up to the anniversary — had called for a week of protests from Saturday to mark Wani’s death.
All roads leading to the rebel leader’s home town of Tral in south Kashmir have been closed and authorities have seized thousands of motorbikes to prevent people travelling between villages in the area.
Witnesses and police said clashes broke out when protesters tried to reach the family home on Saturday morning and were blocked by government forces.
Police fired tear gas cannisters when protesters threw rocks at them — an increasingly common tactic in the region.
Wani’s father said there was a huge military presence outside the family home.
“There were so many soldiers outside I couldn’t go out. It wasn’t possible for me to visit my son’s grave today,” Muzzafar Wani told.