Indian authorities on Monday night issued the order to impose a “full curfew” in occupied Kashmir, a day before the one-year anniversary of August 5 when the Modi-led government stripped the region of its autonomy, generating widespread criticism and rebuke.
Officials announced a two-day “full curfew” citing intelligence reports of looming protests in the Muslim-majority region of seven million people, where locals have called for the anniversary to be marked as a “black day”.
Police vehicles patrolled the main city Srinagar after dark on Monday and again on Tuesday morning, with officers using megaphones to order residents to remain indoors.
A “full curfew” means people can only move around with an official pass, usually reserved for essential services such as police and ambulances.
The Himalayan region is already subject to restrictions to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, with most economic activities limited and public movement curtailed.
On Monday morning, new razor-wire and steel barricades were placed on main roads on Srinagar, and on Tuesday thousands of government troops fanned across the city and surrounding villages.
“Police in vehicles moved through our locality and from loudspeakers ordered us to stay indoors for two days — as if we were not already caged,” said Imriyaz Ali, who lives in the Srinagar old town.
“I saw mobile phones of two of my neighbours taken away by soldiers when they got out to buy bread from a local baker early in the morning,” said one villager by phone from Nazneenpora village.