[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

India's Modi visits Kashmir amid strike

Separatists organise general strike during new prime minister's first visit to the divided region.

Last updated: 04 Jul 2014 14:33
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Security was tightened in Srinagar and other places in the run up to Modi's visit to Kashmir [AFP]

India's Narendra Modi has faced a general strike during his first visit as prime minister to Kashmir.

Shops, businesses and schools were mostly shut on Friday in the Indian-administered state, after separatist groups opposed to Indian rule announced a strike in protest at the visit by the prime minister.

A police officer said a curfew had been declared in the old quarters of Srinagar, the main city in Indian Kashmir, and residents have been asked to stay indoors.

He said the restrictions were imposed to prevent any violent protests.

Modi travelled to Katra, 270km from Srinagar, where he opened a railway line linking a popular Hindu shrine with India's railway network.

Follow our special coverage

"This facility is not just meant for the people of the state but for the millions of Indians who want to travel to Mata Vaishnodevi [shrine]," Modi said after waving off the first train on the Udhampur-Katra line.

Modi said the new railway "will become the fountainhead of development" for the region, while also dedicating the new train to the Hindu pilgrims who travel to the shrine every year.

"My aim is to win the hearts of the people of the state," Modi said.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, which both claim the region in full but administer separate partial areas.

The neighbours have fought two of their three wars over its control.

Since 1989, an armed rebellion against Indian rule by about a dozen rebel groups seeking independence for Kashmir or a merger of the territory with Pakistan has left tens of thousands dead.

Modi was set to meet top generals at army headquarters in Srinagar where hundreds of police and paramilitary officers were patrolling the city's mainly deserted streets.

Modi was also expected on Friday to travel to the town of Uri close to the border with Pakistan to inaugurate a hydro-power project.

321

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.