SRINAGAR, India – Shops and businesses were closed in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Thursday as separatists protested a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Police and paramilitary soldiers patrolled Srinagar, Kashmir’s main city, to prevent demonstrations. Steel barricades were erected on main roads and separatist leaders were held under house arrest to stop them from leading any protests.
Modi met with aid groups and political parties in Srinagar to discuss ways to help thousands of Kashmiris left homeless by devastating floods last month. Angry Kashmir residents say the government’s response to the flooding has been inadequate.
More than 280 people died in the floods, which caused an estimated $ 17 billion in damage to homes and businesses.
Modi earlier Thursday visited Indian soldiers stationed on the Siachen Glacier, known as the world’s highest battlefield, to greet them on Diwali, a major Hindu festival.
Thousands of troops are stationed on Siachen in northern Kashmir as part of a decades-old standoff with Pakistan, which also claims the region. More troops have died from the grueling conditions in the freezing Himalayan terrain than from hostile fire.