India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to crack down on separatist militants during a visit to the disputed territory of Kashmir on Sunday.
In a speech to officials in Srinagar, he said he would “fight terrorism forcefully” in the region.
Modi’s visit triggered a huge security clampdown.
Authorities detained dozens of activists overnight and put separatist leaders under house arrest to stop them from staging any anti-India protest. They also shut internet on mobile phones and suspended train services in the Kashmir Valley, a common tactic to make organizing protests difficult and discourage dissemination of protest videos.
Thousands of armed government forces and commandos in flak jackets spread out across Kashmir, closing off roads to prevent protests and rebel attacks.
Streets were largely empty and businesses were closed, as shopkeepers heeded separatist calls for a shutdown in protest at Modi’s presence.
India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim it in its entirety.
Rebels have been fighting Indian rule since 1989, demanding Indian-controlled Kashmir be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
During his visit, Modi inaugurated some infrastructure projects and started foundation work on several others related to health care, hydropower generation and education at three places in the region.