A general strike and curfew brought Indian-administered Kashmir to a standstill yesterday ahead of a landmark Supreme Court hearing centred on the region's autonomy.
Separatist leaders have threatened major protests if the Supreme Court annuls a constitutional provision that bars Indians from outside Kashmir from buying land or seeking government jobs in the territory.
Businesses, schools and public transport across Kashmir followed separatist demands to stay closed while government forces rolled out razor wire and spiked steel barriers across deserted roads in the main city Srinagar to block demonstrations.
Srinagar residents said they were prevented from going out on the streets by major deployments of police and paramilitary troops.
"It is a curfew. No-one can go out," one school teacher in the city told AFP.
Today's hearing in New Delhi has caused a major spike in tensions, adding to the near daily deaths in battles between government troops and rebels.
Government forces killed two suspected rebels in a gun battle in the northern district of Hajin during search operations yesterday. On Wednesday, rebels killed four police officers while Indian troops killed two militants.