Parts of India-administered Kashmir have been placed under lockdown and local politicians reportedly arrested, as tensions intensify in the disputed region following a massive deployment of troops by the Indian government.
Indian forces laid steel barricades and razor wire on roads and intersections to cut off neighbourhoods in Srinagar and other towns in the Kashmir valley.
Anti- India, Huriayat Conference leaders including Syed Ali Gillani, Mir Waiz Umer Farooq and some pro-India leaders from the region, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah,have been placed under house arrest.
Authorities also suspended internet services and most mobile phone networks, a common tactic to prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organised and to stop dissemination of news.
In recent days, India has deployed at least 10,000 troops in Kashmir, with media reports of a further 25,000 ordered to one of the world’s most militarised regions. Thousands of additional Indian soldiers began camping in police stations and government buildings in several areas.
The measures have sparked fears that Indian government is planning to scrap an Indian constitutional provision that forbids Indians from outside India-held Kashmir from buying land in the territory.
Residents fear New Delhi is planning to engineer “demographic changes” in India’s only Muslim-majority region by scrapping a law that prohibits outsiders from buying land in India-administered Kashmir.
Last month, a senior BJP leader hinted that the government was planning to form exclusive Hindu settlements in the region.