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India PM holds first public event in Kashmir since clampdown

SRINAGAR (AFP) – India’s Prime Minister promised peace and development for Jammu and Kashmir yesterday, during his first public event in the disputed territory since it imposed a sweeping security clampdown nearly three years ago.

Narendra Modi’s nationalist government has sought to quell a long-running insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir and strengthen its hold over the region, which is also claimed by neighbouring Pakistan.

India nullified the area’s limited autonomy in August 2019, when authorities arrested thousands and imposed the world’s longest Internet shutdown, seeking to forestall local opposition to the move.

Tight security was in place for Modi’s appearance at Palli village in Jammu which celebrated New Delhi’s introduction of direct rule as a defence against Kashmir’s separatist movement.

As he inaugurated new road and hydropower projects, Modi told the gathered crowd of thousands that his government had put the restive region on the path to prosperity.