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.
Police 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 rule.
Saturday will be the fifth phase of voting in the disputed region. The elections began November 17 and will continue through December 24.
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.
The voting has been relatively peaceful, and voter turnout in the earlier rounds was relatively high despite separatist calls to boycott the polls.