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.


Prince Charles visits UK site of nerve agent attack

Updated 14 min 10 sec ago
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Prince Charles visits UK site of nerve agent attack

  • Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited Salisbury on Friday to support the city as it tries to recover from the impact of this year’s poison attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter.
  • Visitor numbers have fallen since Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in March.

SALISBURY: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited Salisbury on Friday to support the city as it tries to recover from the impact of this year’s poison attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter.
They visited businesses and met local residents before attending a reception for those most closely involved in trying to restore the city’s tourist trade.
Visitor numbers have fallen since Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in March.
They had been poisoned with a Cold War era nerve agent for which the government blamed Russia, plunging bilateral relations to a new low, although the Kremlin denied any involvement.
Charles and Camilla also held a private meeting with Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey who fell ill after coming into contact with the Novichok nerve agent after trying to help the Skripals.
For weeks, the predominant images coming from this elegant southern city were not those of England’s tallest cathedral spire but of police roadblocks and cordoned-off streets as investigators in hazchem suits swept the area.
Re-stimulating tourism in Salisbury has been a priority after visitor numbers fell some 20 percent. Nine businesses folded as a result of the incident, on top of a reduced footfall of up to 80 percent in the immediate vicinity of the poisoning.
Sergei Skripal, 66, was part of a spy swap between Russia and Britain in 2010 and had since made Salisbury his home. He was released from hospital last month after spending weeks in an induced coma.
Yulia Skripal, 33, left hospital in April and spoke last month to Reuters, outlining her desire to return to Russia in the future despite the poisoning.
“My life has been turned upside down,” she said.