Srinagar: Security forces threw tear gas and clashed with stone-throwing protesters in Kashmir on Saturday, as the Valley marked the first anniversary of the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.
Authorities clamped curfew in three towns, including Tral in Kashmir and imposed restrictions on the movement of people in the rest of the valley after separatist leaders called for a week of demonstrations.
Police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in strength across Kashmir to handle any security challenges. Curfew was imposed in Tral, the native town of Wani, in Pulwama district as a precautionary measure to maintain peace in the valley, a senior police official said.
The joint separatist camp, including Hurriyat Conference factions led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), has asked the people to march to Tral to pay tributes to Wani, who was killed in an encounter with security forces 8 July last year.
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 AFP by phone.
The streets of the main city of Srinagar were deserted on Saturday, with all shops and businesses closed. All the examinations scheduled for Saturday have been postponed by universities.
(AFP contributed to this story)