Indian PM tours restive Indian-controlled Kashmir

Posted on at

Indian-controlled Kashmir, Nov. 7 (Xinhua)--Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday arrived in Indian-controlled Kashmir amid security measures and curfew-like restrictions, officials said.
   Modi landed at Srinagar international airport and was immediately flown to Badami Bagh military cantonment, from where he was taken to Sher-i-Kashmir cricket stadium, the venue of his rally.
   "At the stadium, the prime minister would address people," a senior official said.
   Hours ahead of Modi's  landing in Srinagar, authorities suspended Internet mobile services.
   Unprecedented security arrangements have been made in and around Srinagar for the visit.
   Thousands of police and paramilitary troopers have been deployed on roads and the city seems to have been turned into a virtual fortress.
   Coils of concertina wires and barricades have been laid at the entry points to the city to regulate the movement of the people ferried by pro-India parties for the event.
   The police officials are keeping an eye on the movement of people in and outside the venue using CCTV cameras installed ahead of the function.
   Sharpshooters have been deployed atop high rise buildings in the city to prevent any possible militant attack.
   "These restrictions are meant to ensure the function passes off peacefully," a police official posted in the city said.
   All shops, business establishments, educational institutions, banks and offices have been closed in the wake of restrictions.
   The tight security arrangements have come up before the parallel rally, "million march" called by separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani at nearby tourist reception center ground.
   Authorities have closed the ground and deployed huge contingents of police and paramilitary to prevent people from entering the ground.
   Geelani's call for "million march' was supported by almost all separatist groups to counter Modi's proposed rally and to challenge New Delhi's rule over the restive region.
   Indian police have detained key separatist leaders including Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, besides over 200 of their activists to prevent them from organizing "million march".
   The local government usually place separatist leaders under house arrest on important days and ahead of their proposed rallies.
   Indian authorities fear their leading of demonstrations could trigger violent anti-India protests.
   The region's Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has pinned great expectations with Modi's visit and described it would be a "turning point" in the history of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
   The local government is expecting an announcement of a mega financial package from Modi for the rehabilitation of flood victims.
   September 2014's floods in Indian-controlled Kashmir were described as "worst in a century" by the local government and as per its estimates the region suffered a loss of 16 billion U.S. dollars.
   The floods killed 300 people across the region.
   A separatist movement and guerilla war challenging New Delhi's rule is going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989.
   Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.

About the author