Indian forces to ease Kashmir clampdown for Friday prayers

Indian forces to ease Kashmir clampdown for Friday prayers
Indian authorites are planning to ease the violent crackdown on Kashmir for Friday prayers.
1 min read
09 August, 2019
Kashmir is being occupied by Indian forces [Getty]

Indian authorities will ease a curfew in troubled Kashmir so that the Muslim-majority population can go to Friday prayers, the region's police chief has said.

"People are allowed to pray within their neighbourhood, there is no restriction on that," said Dilbag Singh, director general of police for Kashmir.

"But they should not venture out of their local area," he added.

Indian authorities have imposed a widely condemned lockdown since Monday with no internet or telephones and severe restrictions on movement after the government cancelled the Himalayan region's special autonomous status.

Tens of thousands of extra troops have been sent to the region to impose the clampdown, which has been condemned by Pakistan and some Indian opposition politicians.

But there have been sporadic protests, with police chasing groups of pro-separatist demonstrators, many of whom gather at night, residents said.

One youth died after jumping into a river to escape police.

Authorities face another potential flashpoint on Monday with the Eid al-Adha festival.

Kashmir is home to about seven million Muslims, making the territory overwhelmingly Muslim majority.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed in a nationwide address on Thursday that people will "not face difficulties" celebrating Eid. Media reports said however that authorities would only make a decision on curfew restrictions on Sunday.