| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

India tightens curbs in Kashmir a day after separatist leader’s burial

On Friday, a day after a veteran secessionist leader was laid to rest in the disputed Himalayan territory, India tightened mobility restrictions in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, with scores of armed soldiers fanning out ahead of prayers.

Soldiers monitored the streets to prevent large-scale protests and gatherings at mosques as Syed Ali Shah Geelani, 91, was laid to rest near his house in the city.

According to a government official, public movement was restricted in the capital and throughout Kashmir.

“More troops have been deployed in sensitive areas and more roads have been barricaded,” the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

For a second day, communications were disrupted, with mobile networks and internet services in the Kashmir valley largely shut down.

For years, Geelani, one of Kashmir’s most senior political leaders, had led a hardline faction of separatist groups that sought to secede from India following an armed revolt against New Delhi.

Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between India and arch rival Pakistan, which claim the region in full but rule only parts.

Tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbors was renewed in August 2019, when New Delhi scrapped the autonomy of its state of Jammu and Kashmir, splitting it into two federally administered territories.

Shops were shut across parts of Srinagar, with many streets deserted and coils of barbed wire strung across them. Soldiers with assault rifles manned checkpoints.

Health worker Shakeel Ahmad said he had to navigate more barricades on Friday to get to his hospital than a day ago.

“I was stopped at around a dozen places,” he said.

  • Reuters