Curfew in India-held Kashmir amid calls for independence and freedom from India
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SRINAGAR:08 February 2014. Thousands of Indian troops fanned out across India-held Kashmir on Sunday, detaining about 200 separatist activists to prevent protests during a three-day strike to mark the execution anniversaries of two separatists in New Delhi, officials said.
Many parts of the Himalayan region were under curfew, with major roads blocked by razor wire and barricades, as authorities sought to prevent anti-India protests and possible violence, Inspector General Abdul Gani Mir said.
Wireless Internet services were shut down.
Shops and businesses remained closed in Srinagar, the main city in India-held Kashmir.
Most people stayed indoors while police and paramilitary soldiers patrolled the lakeside city's deserted streets.
Authorities detained about 200 known activists and placed their leaders under house arrest, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak with reporters.
Kashmiris, who have long demanded the region be given independence or be allowed to merge with neighboring Pakistan, were incensed when Mohammed Afzal Guru was secretly hanged Feb 9 last year in a New Delhi jail for involvement in a 2001 Parliament attack that killed 14 people, including five gunmen.
Most people in Kashmir believe Guru was not given a fair trial, and the covert execution led to days of violent anti-India protests in the Muslim-majority region, where anti-India sentiment runs deep.
The execution refreshed anger sparked in 1984, when pro-independence leader Mohammed Maqbool Butt was hanged in the same New Delhi jail after being convicted of killing an intelligence officer.
Since 1989, an armed uprising and an ensuing crackdown in the region have killed an estimated 68,000 people.
Insurgents renewed demands over the weekend that the two men's remains, buried within the jail compound, be returned to the region for burial. ''The shutdown is called for pressing our demand for return of the mortal remains of our martyrs,'' Kashmir top leader Syed Ali Geelani said in a statement issued before he was detained at Srinagar's airport Saturday after returning from New Delhi.
Kashmir has the largest concentration of troops anywhere in the world where nearly 700,000 Indian military force is deployed to suppress and control the Kashmiris