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Ten killed, nearly 200 injured in protest over Burhan Muzaffar Wani’s death in Kashmir

Lashkar-e Taiba militant outfit and Asiya Andrabi, the radical chief of women separatist outfit Dukhtaran-e-Milat, called for a three-day shutdown in the Kashmir valley

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Burhan Muzaffar Wani. Image source: www.india.com
  • CM Mehbooba Mufti expressed deep grief and agony over the death of youths during protests at various places in Kashmir Valley on July 9
  • Shouting pro-Islam and pro-Azadi slogans, mourners appeared surcharged and youths raised slogans vowing to follow Wani’s path
  • Lashkar-e Taiba militant outfit and Asiya Andrabi, the radical chief of women separatist outfit Dukhtaran-e-Milat, called for a three-day shutdown in the Kashmir valley

SRINAGAR: Ten people were killed and nearly 200, including 96 security personnel, injured in violent clashes between mobs protesting the death of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and security forces inJammu and Kashmir on Saturday, July 9.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed deep grief and agony over the death of youths during protests at various places in Kashmir Valley on Saturday and appealed for calm, even as authorities indicated curfew would be more strictly enforced on Sunday, July 10.

Defying prohibitory orders, a surging crowd of over 20,000 people on Saturday attended the burial of Wani in Tral town in Pulwama.

Shouting pro-Islam and pro-Azadi slogans, mourners appeared surcharged and youths raised slogans vowing to follow Wani’s path.

Wani, 21, a poster boy of militancy with thousands of followers on social media, was killed along with two associates in a gunfight with security forces in Bamdoora (Kokernag) village of Anantnag district on Friday.

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The authorities, allowing the burial procedure, withdrew all security forces deployed around the ground to prevent clashes with the agitated people.

Meanwhile, mobile internet services were suspended throughout the Valley to prevent the spread of rumours.

Movement of pilgrims for the Amarnath Yatra was also suspended in view of the unrest and the pilgrims kept in transit and security forces camps. A decision on resuming the pilgrimage will be taken on Sunday, officials said. However, 15,684 pilgrims who had already reached the shrine had ‘darshan’ on Saturday.

Burhan, Hizbul Mujahidin. Image source:indianexpress.com
Burhan, Hizbul Mujahidin. Image source:indianexpress.com

The eight protesters killed on Saturday were identified as Aijaz Ahmed Thokru, a resident of Siligam in Anantnag, Yawar Manzoor Kondru of Anantnag, Khursheed Ahmed of Kulgam and Zubair Ahmed also of Kulgam, who was injured on Friday but succumbed to his injuries on Saturday, Adil Bashir of Dooru, Anantnag, Abdul Hamid Mochi of Arwami village in Anantnag, Shaukat Ahmed of Bijbehara and Mohammad Asif of Kukurnag.

All except Kondru who drowned in the Jhelum as security forces sought to disperse a violent mob was killed when security forces retaliated to attacks by violent mobs on police stations, mobile posts, security force pickets, police patrols and security force vehicles, the officials said.

Two more injured succumbed to injuries in hospital but were yet to be identified.

At least 96 security personnel were injured, said Additional Director general of Police, CID, S.M. Sahai and Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, S.J.M. Geelani at a press conference here.

Three policemen were missing, they said.

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According to the officials, the mobs also burned down three police stations in south Kashmir as well as a tehsildar’s office in Tral and attacked private and public vehicles on the highway.

The administration also announced that all exams from school to university level had been postponed as well as the National Eligibility Test and interviews of the State Public Commission.

Separatists, including hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik earlier called for a day’s strike to protest Wani’s killing. Later, they announced to continue their shutdown on Sunday and Monday too to protest the “killing spree by the Indian security forces”.

Lashkar-e Taiba militant outfit and Asiya Andrabi, the radical chief of women separatist outfit Dukhtaran-e-Milat, called for a three-day shutdown in the Kashmir valley.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti, urging for calm, sought people’s cooperation in the restoration of normalcy in the Valley.

“Violence only brings miseries to the people and tragedies for the victim families,” she said and appealed people, especially the youth not to fall prey to the machinations of the vested interests, who play politics over the dead bodies of Kashmiris.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah voiced apprehension of a likely spurt in militancy in the Valley in the wake of Wani’s killing.

“Mark my words – Burhan’s ability to recruit into militancy from the grave will far outstrip anything he could have done on social media,” the National Conference leader said in a series of tweets.

He also asserted that Wani had become the new ‘icon’ for the disaffected community in the valley.

“After many years I hear slogans for “Azadi” resonate from the mosque in my uptown Srinagar locality. Kashmir’s disaffected got a new icon yesterday,” he said in another tweet. (IANS)

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    Burhan was a face of militancy in social media and was a face for disaffected community in the valley. Then why are people creating so much fuss?

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US Hate Groups Increases by 7% in 2 years, Hit Record

US Hate Groups Hit Record Number Last Year Amid Increased Violence.

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US, Hate Groups, Violence
FILE - A neo-Nazi attends a rally in Newnan, Georgia, April 21, 2018. VOA

The white supremacist group Identity Evropa more than doubled the number of its chapters.

The violent neo-Nazi organization Atomwaffen Division grew from one chapter to 27.

The white nationalist group and podcasting site The Right Stuff boasted 34 chapters.

American hate groups had a bumper year in 2018 as a surge in black and white nationalist groups lifted their number to a new record high, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report issued Wednesday.

The Alabama-based legal advocacy organization recorded 1,020 active hate groups last year, up 7 percent from 2017. The previous record tallied by SPLC was 1,018 in 2011 amid a white extremist backlash against the presidency of Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president.

US, hate groups, violence
Number of hate groups in US have increased from 497 to 1020 within two decades. Pixabay

The increase was driven by growth in both black and white nationalist groups, the SPLC said. The number of white nationalist groups jumped from 100 to 148, while the number of black nationalist groups — typically anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ and anti-white — rose from 233 to 264.

The SPLC defines a hate group as “an organization that, based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities, has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

The number of hate groups has grown every year for the past four years, the SPLC said, a 30 percent increase roughly coinciding with President Donald Trump’s election campaign and presidency. The increase followed three years of decline toward the end of the Obama administration.

Hate crimes

Hate crimes have followed a similar trajectory in recent years. After falling for three consecutive years, attacks on blacks, Jews, Muslims and other minorities increased by 30 percent in the three-year period ending in 2017, according to the latest FBI data.

US, hate group, violence
FILE – A man is detained while white supremacist Jason Kessler arrives at the Vienna metro station in Vienna, Va., Aug. 12, 2018. White nationalists are gathering in Washington on the first anniversary of their rally in Charlottesville. VOA

The uptrend continued into last year, with hate crimes in America’s 30 largest cities surging by an additional 10 percent, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

The majority of hate crimes are nonviolent, but some incidents were deadly. White supremacists in the U.S. and Canada killed at least 40 people last year, up from 17 people the year before, according to the SPLC’s tally.

While most bias-motivated offenses are not committed by members of hate groups, the perpetrators of hate crimes draw inspiration from ideas put out by hate groups, said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project and author of the report.

‘Go-ahead’ from Trump

Beirich blamed Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim statements and policies for heightening deep-seated white nationalist fears of an impending white-minority country.

US, hate group, violence
FILE – In this Feb. 19, 2017 file photo, people carry posters during a rally against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations, in New York’s Times Square. VOA

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be nonwhite in 2020, while the U.S. population is slated to become majority-minority in 2044.

“Rather than trying to tamp down hate, as presidents of both parties have done, President Trump elevates it with both his rhetoric and his policies,” Beirich said. “In doing so, he’s given people across America the go-ahead to act on their worst instincts.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Black nationalist groups, which advocate separate institutions or even a separate nation, made up about a quarter of hate groups tracked in 2018.

But the SPLC said the black extremist groups “lagged far behind the more than 700 groups that adhere to some form of white supremacist ideology,” the report said.

Among white extremist groups, the SPLC counted 112 neo-Nazi groups, 148 white nationalist organizations, 63 racist skinhead groups, 36 neo-Confederate outfits and 17 Christian Identity organizations.

KKK falling

But not all white hate groups thrived last year. The number of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) chapters fell for the third straight year, dropping to 51 in 2018 from 130 in 2016.

US, hate groups, violence
FILE – Members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in cross burnings in rural Paulding County near Cedar Town, Georgia, April 23, 2016. VOA

With its outdated traditions and penchant for white robes, the KKK, the nation’s oldest racist organization, has failed to appeal to young white tech-savvy racists, the SPLC said.

“It may be that the KKK, having somehow endured since 1866, is finally on its last legs,” the report said.

The SPLC started tracking KKK chapters in 1987 and later expanded its list to include other hate groups. In recent years, as it has put new groups on its list, including anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ organizations, conservative groups have accused the SPLC of unfairly labeling them.

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Last month, the Center for Immigration Studies sued the SPLC in federal court in Washington for “falsely designating” it as a hate group in 2016, saying the SPLC has produced no evidence that the group maligns immigrants as a class.

Beirich said the SPLC is standing by its hate group listings. (VOA)