India orders Kashmir clampdown ahead of anniversary of militant killing

India orders Kashmir clampdown ahead of anniversary of militant killing.(AFP)
Updated 07 July 2017
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India orders Kashmir clampdown ahead of anniversary of militant killing

SRINAGAR: Indian authorities on Friday shut down the Internet in disputed Kashmir and sealed off the hometown of a slain militant leader a day before the anniversary of his killing by the army, which had fueled further unrest across the Himalayan region.
Burhan Wani, a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group best known for appearing on social media in military fatigues to urge young people to join the fight against Indian forces, was killed 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.
India blames Pakistan for pushing in militants from its part of Kashmir to carry out attacks, a charge denied by Islamabad.
The South Asian rivals have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.
Late on Thursday, authorities ordered Internet service providers to shut down data services in Kashmir, citing the risk of anti-India forces using social media to stir up unrest.
India has been struggling to restore normalcy in Kashmir, deploying thousands more soldiers, after Wani’s killing appeared to breathe new life into the 28-year armed revolt that had ebbed and was drifting, with little international attention.
A Pakistan-based Kashmir militant commander, whom the United States last week added to its list of global terrorists, has called for a strike on Saturday to mark Wani’s killing.
Syed Salahuddin’s United Jihad Council, an umbrella body of anti-India militants based in Pakistan-held Kashmir, has been incensed by the US designation, vowing to continue its struggle to liberate Kashmir.
Witnesses said most shops were closed in Srinagar, the region’s summer capital, with traffic thin ahead of the anniversary. Authorities have restricted the movement of people in the city’s old quarter, which has often erupted in violence.


Families bury victims as Tanzania ferry disaster toll passes 200

Updated 23 September 2018
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Families bury victims as Tanzania ferry disaster toll passes 200

  • Divers were also set to continue their grim search in the waters around the boat
  • With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometers, Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya

UKARA, Tanzania: Grieving families were on Sunday preparing to bury victims of Tanzania’s devastating ferry disaster, with more than 200 confirmed dead after the crowded boat capsized in Lake Victoria.
Hopes were fading of finding any more survivors three days after the ferry sank on Thursday, even after rescuers pulled out an engineer who had managed to find refuge in an air pocket in the upturned vessel.
“We are going to start burying bodies not yet identified by relatives,” said John Mongella, governor of Mwanza region, where the MV Nyerere ferry had been coming in to dock on the island of Ukara.
“The (burial) ceremony will be overseen by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, in the presence of clergy members of different denominations,” Mongella said Saturday on TBC 1 public television.
Divers were also set to continue their grim search in the waters around the boat, where late Saturday they were watched by anxious crowds gathered just meters (yards) away on Ukara’s shore.
Mongella said 218 people had been confirmed dead, while 41 escaped the tragedy with their lives — a total figure far above the official capacity of the boat, which was in theory only able to carry 101 passengers.
One survivor was an engineer who shut himself into a “special room” with enough air for him to stay alive until he was found, said local lawmaker Joseph Mkundi.
Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe said on Saturday that 172 of the victim’s bodies had been identified by relatives.
State television cited witnesses reporting that more than 200 people had boarded the ferry at Bugolora, a town on the larger Ukerewe Island. It was market day, which usually sees the vessel packed with people and goods.
Witnesses told AFP the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock. Others blamed the captain, saying he had made a brusque maneuver.
Dozens of wooden coffins lined the shore on Saturday, waiting to be seen by families as police and volunteers sought to keep hundreds of curious locals at bay.
Aisha William came to collect the body of her husband. “He left on Tuesday around noon, but he never came home. I do not know how I am going to raise my two children,” she said.
Ahmed Caleb, a 27-year-old trader, railed at a tragedy “which could have been prevented. I’ve lost my boss, friends, people I went to school with,” he sighed.
The aging vessel, whose hull and propellers were all that remained visible above water, was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas and cement, when it capsized.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday ordered the arrest of the ferry’s management and declared four days of national mourning.
In a speech broadcast on TBC 1, Magufuli said “it appears clear that the ferry was overloaded,” adding that the government would cover the funeral expenses of the victims.
With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometers, oval-shaped Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize in the lake, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many people in the region cannot swim.