Indian security forces have maintained tight restrictions across its controlled Jammu and Kashmir during Eidul Azha, fearing protests against the revocation of the Himalayan region’s special status a week ago.
Streets and markets were practically deserted on August 12 as a result of the security lockdown, now in its eighth day, reports said.
In the city of Srinagar, where major mosques were closed, Muslims were allowed to walk to local mosques only alone or in pairs in an attempt to prevent large crowds from gathering on the streets.
Some restrictions were temporarily lifted during the weekend, but security was tightened again following protests, residents were quoted as saying.
A protest by several thousand people in Srinagar after Friday Prayers on August 9 was broken up by security forces who fired tear gas at the crowd.
The Indian-administered part of predominantly Muslim Kashmir has been on lockdown since New Delhi revoked an article in India’s constitution that guaranteed the region greater autonomy than other states in India.
Mobile, landline, and Internet networks have been cut off. Tens of thousands of troops have been deployed in the region, and local political leaders have been detained.
India’s decision has drawn an angry reaction from neighboring Pakistan, which says the move breaches international law.
On August 12, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Muzaffarabad in Pakistani-administered Kashmir to “express Pakistan’s solidarity” with the Kashmiris. During his speech he categorically said that Pakistan government is not going to give provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan, a disputed region which is also linked with Kashmir issue. Mr Qureshi said if we give provincial status to GB it will damage Kashmir cause.
Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India. But it is claimed in full by both of the nuclear-armed powers, which have fought two wars over the region since partition in 1947.–additional inputs from AFP, AP and DPA