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Page last updated at 07:55 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Curfew in Kashmir to stop march

Curfew in Srinagar, August 25 2008
Kashmir has seen pro-independence demonstrations in the past few months

Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir have imposed a curfew in the mainly Muslim Kashmir valley to prevent a proposed march by separatist groups.

The march has been called to commemorate the "killing of Muslims" by in the mainly Hindu Jammu area in 1947.

Kashmir was then ruled by a Hindu monarch. He had faced an uprising by Muslims and also an invasion by the tribals from Pakistan.

Shops in the valley are closed and vehicles are off the roads.

The valley has seen some of its biggest pro-independence demonstrations in the past few months, with hundreds of thousands of people joining marches organised by separatist groups opposed to Indian rule.

Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in strength across the valley on Thursday to prevent the march, the BBC's Altaf Hussain in Srinagar says.

Encouraged

The chairman of the All Party Hurriyat Conference separatist group, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has been placed under house arrest.

Most of the other prominent separatist leaders, including Shabir Shah, Yasin Malik and Asiya Andrabi have been put in prison under the Public Safety Act which provides for detention without trial for two years.

Hundreds of thousands of people joined four marches organised by the separatists in August.

The unprecedented outpouring of public support has worried the Indian government, says our correspondent.

The separatist leaders and their supporters have, meanwhile, been encouraged by the US president-elect Barack Obama's remarks on Kashmir.

Mr Obama has said a resolution of the Kashmir dispute would enable Pakistan to focus on the situation in Afghanistan and thus cooperate more effectively with the US in its fight against the Taleban.

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