NEW DELHI: An uneasy calm prevailed in Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday as people celebrated a major Islamic festival during an unprecedented crackdown after India moved to strip the disputed region of its constitutional autonomy and imposed an indefinite curfew.
All communications and the internet remained cut off for an eighth day Monday.
News reports say authorities will allow Eid al-Adha prayers at neighbourhood mosques during the day but will not permit large congregations to avoid anti-India protests.
The security lockdown appeared aimed at avoiding a backlash in India’s only Muslim-majority region where most people oppose Indian rule. The restrictions had been briefly eased on Friday for residents to attend mosque prayers, and people also were allowed to shop for the Eid festival on Saturday and Sunday.
Magistrate Shahid Choudhary tweeted late Sunday that he held a meeting with religious leaders for prayer arrangements and visited several venues.
Also Sunday, as people were shopping in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, the New Delhi Television News channel showed video of jeeps fitted with loudspeakers moving in the region after lunchtime, telling people to return to their homes and shopkeepers to shut markets. NDTV said the move may have been prompted by sporadic clashes that took place in Srinagar after the restrictions were relaxed on Saturday.
Thousands of additional troops were sent to the disputed Himalayan region before India’s Hindu nationalist-led government said last Monday that it was revoking Kashmir’s special constitutional status and downgrading its statehood.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the nation that the move would free the territory of “terrorism and separatism” and accused India’s archrival Pakistan of fomenting unrest.
Kashmir is claimed in full by both nations and divided between them, and rebels have been fighting Indian rule in the portion it administers for decades.