Indian police expand curfew in Kashmir to block protest rally
Indian authorities have expanded a curfew to areas across the disputed Kashmir region in an effort aimed at blocking a march by pro-independence activists.
“Curfew has been imposed in entire Srinagar district, Anantnag town, Shopian town, Baramulla town, Awantipora and Pampore towns of Pulwama district,” said an Indian police official on Friday, the Times of India reported.
The unnamed official added that the curfew was also being imposed in the town of Ganderbal as well as in Budgam, Chadoora, Magam, Kunzer, Tangmarg and Pattan areas of the restive valley as a precautionary measure.
Pro-independence activists went ahead with the planned protest in Srinagar after Friday prayers, nevertheless. Indian troops detained several of the demonstrators.
Authorities had cut mobile phone services to impede communication among citizens before the rally.
The pro-independence activists had called on supporters to converge on the Eidgah to commemorate the killing of protesters at the hands of Indian security forces over the past 34 days of clashes. The recent protests were launched against the killing last month of Burhan Wani, a local militant commander.
According to local reports, as many as 55 people, including two police officers, have so far been killed and several thousands of others injured during clashes between protesters and Indian security personnel.
Since India and Pakistan won independence from British rule in 1947, the arch-rivals have been claiming Kashmir in full but have had only partial control over it.
India often blames Pakistan for “rebel” attacks in the region, accusing Islamabad of giving arms to pro-independence militants and sending them across the borderline to launch attacks on Indian forces.
India has an estimated 500,000 soldiers deployed in the restive territory.