Indian forces are imposing strict security measures in
Indian-controlled Kashmir ahead of a new round of voting in local
elections scheduled for Saturday.
Authorities have not formally
declared a curfew, but reports from the region say streets have been
deserted Friday in the main city, Srinagar. Thousands of troops have
deployed in the streets to prevent separatist protests.
have placed two separatist leaders, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali
Shah Geelani, under house arrest. The separatist movement has called
for a boycott of the polls and peaceful demonstrations against Indian
Saturday will be the fifth phase of voting in the disputed
region. The elections began November 17 and will continue through
They are being held in seven phases so security
forces can patrol each constituency and control possible unrest
following months of demonstrations against Indian rule.
voting has been relatively peaceful, and voter turnout in the earlier
rounds was relatively high despite separatist calls to boycott the