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A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Burhan Wani’s funeral drew thousands to his home village of Tral, in defiance of government restrictions and a curfew.

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A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Kashmiri mourners carry the body of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the most wanted militant in the restive Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir, in Tral, his native town, 42 km south of Srinagar.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

A top commander from the largest rebel group in Indian-administered Kashmir, Burhan Wani was killed in a gun battle with government forces on July 8, police said.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Kashmiri women react during the funeral of Burhan Wani in Tral on July 9.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Mourners carry the body of Burhan Wani through Tral in Kashmir. Wani, a top figure in Hizbul Mujahideen, had a one million rupee ($14,900) bounty on his head. In the foreground, mourners carry the flag of Pakistan.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Kashmiri mourners shouted pro-freedom slogans during the funeral of Burhan Wani.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Wani joined the rebel movement at the age of 15 and in recent years had been behind a huge recruitment drive, attracting young and educated Kashmiris to the decades-old fight for independence in the restive disputed region. The large crowd at his funeral attests to his popularity.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Women mourn during Burhan Wani’s funeral. Kashmir has been rent with renewed violence in the days following Wani’s death.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Viewed locally as a hero, Wani’s death sparked protests in parts of Kashmir, with thousands taking to the streets shouting independence slogans and lauding Wani as a revolutionary, witnesses said. Here, mourners raise their fists during the funeral.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Mourners reach out to touch Burhan Wani’s body as his funeral progresses through Tral.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Thousands gathered in Tral for Burhan Wani’s funeral. Meanwhile, the Indian government declared a curfew in the region.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

A young but influential militant, Burhan Wani’s death has seemed to reignite tensions in Kashmir.

Credit: Ahmer Khan
A Militant’s Funeral Ignites Kashmir

Kashmiri mourners stand in a trees during the funeral of Burhan Wani, trying to get a glimpse of Kashmir’s most wanted militant.

Credit: Ahmer Khan

Indian-controlled Kashmir has erupted after the death of Burhan Wani, the region’s most wanted militant and chief of operations of Hizbul Mujahideen, Kashmir’s largest rebel group. Wani was killed on July 8 in fighting with Indian troops near Kokernag.

Wani, 22, had become the iconic face of militancy in Kashmir over the last five years. He was a household name and his video clips and pictures were widely circulated among young people in Kashmir. Many thousands attended his funeral in his native village of Tral on July 9, despite restrictions and a curfew.

After the killing of the new-age militant poster boy, Kashmir exploded. At least 40 people, including a young girl, have been killed and more than 2,000 injured by the Indian paramilitary forces since July 9.

Kashmir is now under a complete lockdown, with a curfew in place across the entire region. Authorities have blocked internet access in some places; mobile and mobile internet services remain intermittently suspended.

The following are images of Wani’s funeral procession in his home village of Tral, on Saturday, July 9, 2016.

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Ahmer Khan is a freelance documentary photographer based in Kashmir. You can follow him for updates on Twitter: @ahmermkhan