Security tightened in Kashmir to stop protests | india | Hindustan Times
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Security tightened in Kashmir to stop protests

india Updated: Aug 14, 2010 16:43 IST

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Tens of thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers patrolled the streets in Kashmir as security was tightened across most parts of the region on Saturday a day after four people were killed in firing by security forces in protests.

Authorities reimposed a strict curfew in Srinagar and in most major towns in an attempt to halt the protests in which at least 55 people have died over the past two months.

"We're taking no chances and have imposed the curfew to stop more protests," a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media. Streets in many towns were largely deserted except for police and paramilitary soldiers. In Srinagar, government forces laid razor wire and erected steel barricades to block access to the city's normally congested downtown areas.

Troops drove through neighborhoods and told residents to stay indoors.

The curfew in Srinagar was lifted on Friday after a key separatist leader and cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, warned of total defiance if worshippers were stopped from praying at the Jamia Masjid, the city's main mosque.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah planned to review the situation with top army, paramilitary and police officials later Saturday, an official statement said.

The unrest, which began in June, shows no signs of easing despite the deployment of more troops and calls from the prime minister for calm.

On Friday, tens of thousands of Kashmiris staged angry street demonstrations after government forces killed four people and injured 31 others.

Separatists say the protests will continue despite the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began on Thursday.