Authorities ordered a curfew in parts of Indian-held Kashmir Friday after hundreds of Kashmiri activists were arrested on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the region. In the main city of occupied Srinagar shops and schools remained shut, university exams were cancelled for the day and public transport was suspended as hundreds of police and paramilitary forces patrolled the streets.
Modi is scheduled to address a public rally in occupied Srinagar on Saturday, where he is expected to announce economic assistance, more than a year after massive flooding inflicted $16 billion worth of damage across the territory. “Restrictions were imposed to prevent breach of peace before the prime minister’s rally,” a senior police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity. Nearly 300 activists have been arrested to prevent them from mobilising, another police officer said.
Security has been beefed up ahead of Modi’s visit, with the Muslim-majority region already tense following incidents of religious intolerance and attacks on minorities in many parts of India. “I was not allowed to go to work because of the soldiers on the street outside my home,” Waheed Ahmed, a mason living in the old city area of occupied Srinagar told AFP by phone.