Jammu: The United Jehad Council (UJC), a collective of militant organisations in Kashmir, called for on Monday a week-long agitation to mark the first death anniversary of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
Wani’s death on July 8 triggered one of the worst periods of unrest in Kashmir, where at least 90 civilians have been killed in clashes with security personnel.
Officials have started bracing for the death anniversary, increasing security deployment in South Kashmir and along the region’s key highways.
Protest ‘calendars’, a schedule of shutdowns and demonstrations in the region, are typically declared by the separatist outfit Hurriyat and its factions, making Monday’s announcement by UJC chief Syed Salahuddin unusual. Salahuddin is the leader of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
In a first such video message, he said Hafta-e-Shuhuda (martyrs’ week) would be observed beginning July 7 on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir into two parts —- each administered by India and Pakistan.
Complete strike would be observed in the state on July 8 to pay tributes to Burhan Wani for whom public gatherings will also be held, especially in Tral, Salahuddin said.
Wani is credited to have revived the militancy in Kashmir, in part due to his social media tactics. His death was seen as blow to the Hizb, which lost its second-most prominent militant leader Sabzar Bhat last month.
Kashmir has seen one of its bloodiest years since Wani’s death, and more than 45 people — civilians, security forces and militants — were killed since May 28 when Ramzan began.
In addition to Wani, Salahuddin said, the agitation will also be to remember the Kashmiri civilians who died on July 13, 1931 during a protest in Srinagar.
“Resistance leadership and clerics should start the programme on July 7 and explain the significance of martrydom to people during Friday sermons, the video shows Salahuddin as saying.
“On July 10 and 11, people will visit the families of martyrs to express solidarity with them and help them financially,” he said.
He has asked people to offer special namaz for the “freedom movement and destruction of the enemy’’ on July 12.
Salahuddin has said UJC will be organising conferences across Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Pakistan. “Massive public rallies will be held in Muzaffarabad and Rawalakote on July 8 and 13 to pay homage to Burhan Wani and the 1931 martyrs,’’ he added.