India’s Prime Minister visits Kashmir amid protest strike

SRINAGAR, India (AP) – India’s Prime Minister was in Kashmir for a day-long visit yesterday to review development work, as separatists fighting Indian rule called for a shutdown in the Himalayan region.

Shops and businesses were closed while thousands of armed government forces and commandos in flak jackets spread out across Kashmir and closed off roads with razor wire and iron barricades to prevent protests and rebel attacks during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit.

Traffic was sparse, with buses staying off the roads and few cars venturing out in Srinagar, the main city and the centre of urban dissent against Indian rule.

Authorities detained dozens of activists overnight and put separatist leaders under house arrest to stop them from staging any protest in Srinagar. They also shut Internet on mobile phones and suspended train services in the Kashmir Valley, a common tactic to make organising protests difficult and discourage dissemination of protest videos.

Modi arrived in the remote mountainous Ladakh region bordering China and Pakistan yesterday morning, where he inaugurated a university.