SRINAGAR: A curfew has been imposed across Indian-occupied Kashmir just days before the first anniversary of abolition of the restive region’s semi-autonomy.
“These restrictions shall come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in force on 4th and 5th August,” stated the government order issued for the main city of Srinagar.
“Full curfew will be enforced in all Kashmir districts,” a senior police officer, who asked to remain anonymous told a news agency, citing reports of looming protests.
The region is already subject to restrictions to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus amid a rise in infections with most economic activities limited and public movement curtailed. The order said the separate virus lockdown would be extended until 8th August.
Police vehicles fitted with megaphones patrolled Srinagar after dark, with officers ordering residents to remain indoors for the next two days. Authorities have been tightening restrictions across the Kashmir valley since the weekend of 1st August.
Early Monday morning, new razor-wire and steel barricades were used to block the city’s main roads. Residents in other major towns and many villages said that police also ordered them not to venture out of their homes until Thursday.
The curfew is similar to the one introduced just before Kashmir’s semi-autonomy was stripped on 5th August. A total communications blackout was imposed, with phone and internet lines cut and tens of thousands of fresh troops moved into the valley in one of the world’s most militarised regions.
The curfew came as Kashmiris called for 5th August to be observed as a “black day”. Anger across Indian-held Kashmir against the government has been growing since last year, particularly over the granting of rights – once reserved for Kashmiris – to tens of thousands of people from outside of the region to buy land.
Kashmir has waged a three-decade-long armed rebellion against Indian rule with tens of thousands of lives mostly civilians lost in the conflict.