Security beefed up in Indian-controlled Kashmir for Indian PM's visit

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-11-6 23:37:24

Hundreds of policemen and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed across Indian-controlled Kashmir on Friday before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the restive region.

The deployments were meant to provide security protection to Modi, who is scheduled to visit Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir on Saturday to address a public rally.

The precautions were being taken in wake of a parallel rally - "million march" - called by senior separatist leader and chairman of hardline faction of Hurriyat (freedom) Conference, Syed Ali Geelani.

Geelani's call for "million march' was supported by almost all separatist groups, including moderates, to counter Modi's planned rally and challenge New Delhi's rule over restive region.

Indian police have detained key separatist leaders and over 200 of their activists to prevent them from organising the march.

The local government usually place separatist leaders under house arrest on important days and ahead of their proposed rallies. Indian authorities fear their leading of demonstrations could trigger violent anti-India protests.

The authorities sounded an alert across the region and even suspended the domestic train service on Friday for two days.

In Srinagar city barricades were erected on roads to restrict movement of pedestrians and traffic. The venue according to police was fully sanitized and declared out of bounds for people on Thursday.

The flags and life hoardings of India's right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) have been displayed at the venue.

"We have put in elaborate security arrangements to ensure rally passes off peacefully," a police official on duty said.

The region's Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has pinned great expectations with Modi's upcoming visit and described it a "turning point" in the history of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The local government is expecting an announcement of a mega financial package from Modi for the rehabilitation of flood victims.

Floods in September 2014 were described as "worst in a century" by the local government and as per its estimates the region suffered a loss of 16 billion US dollars.

The floods killed 300 people across the region.

A separatist movement and guerrilla war challenging New Delhi's rule is going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989.

Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.

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