Indian police says shoot dead militant leader in Jammu & Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Indian security forces said they shot dead separatist militant leader Burhan Wani in northern Jammu and Kashmir state on Friday, a figure well known for his calls to arms on social media.

As news of the 22-year-old’s death spread, crowds pelted police with stones in Srinagar, the state’s summer capital, and in some southern reaches of the state, officials said.

Authorities ordered restrictions on the movement of people and traffic in parts of Srinagar on Saturday and police said they had placed several separatist leaders under house arrest to prevent trouble.

Wani was killed along with two others in a shootout with police and soldiers at a house in Kashmir’s Kokernag area on Friday evening, the chief of police for Jammu and Kashmir, K. Rajendra Kumar, said.

“Wani’s killing is a major success against militants in Kashmir ... This year we killed 83 militants in Kashmir, which is highest in recent years,” Kumar added.

Wani, the son of a headmaster, was the head of Hizb-ul Mujahideen, seen as one of the main militant groups in a region that has been at the center of a strategic tussle between India and Pakistan for decades.

Video footage of him dressed in fatigues and inviting young men join him in jihad, regularly appeared on Facebook, WhatsApp and other platforms.

In June, militants killed eight Indian police officials and injured 20 in an attack in Jammu and Kashmir claimed by Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The month before, militants shot and killed three Indian policemen.

Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari; Editing by Tom Lasseter and Andrew Heavens