Armed soldiers patrol silent streets after Kashmir curfew
Armed soldiers stand in front of barbed wire in Indian Kashmir's near-silent summer capital of Srinagar during a massive security lockdown imposed on the restive region by the Hindu nationalist government.
Kashmir was stripped of its seven-decade-long autonomous status through a controversial presidential decree on Monday, a day after a crippling curfew was imposed on its main city.
Home to more than one million people, Srinagar now looks like a ghost-town: armed soldiers on street corners and in front of barbed wire barricades make up most of the few people to be seen.
Information from the Himalayan region – one of the most militarised in the world – is scarce. All phone connections and internet were cut when the curfew was imposed.
The real Kashmir
Poets call it one of the most beautiful places on earth. Analysts consider it to be one of the most dangerous areas in the world. But what is Kashmir in reality? By Onkar Singh Janoti
Multicultural: Kashmir is well-known for its cultural and linguistic diversity. The Kashmir Valley has a Muslim majority. Hindus are predominant in Jammu while Ladakh is primarily Buddhist. But interminable violence has damaged the very fabric of society
Saffron: Kashmir is also famous for its saffron. India is the third largest exporter of saffron following Iran and Spain
'Switzerland of the East': Kashmir boasts some of the world's most beautiful flowering meadows and snow-capped peaks. Many people call it "The Switzerland of the East". On average, Jammu and Kashmir have welcomed over 1 million tourists in recent years
Under a blanket of snow: Kashmir wears pure white in winter. Many areas are perfect for winter sports but lack infrastructure. Islamist violence remains the biggest challenge
Rivers: the Himalayan part of Kashmir is the source of fresh water for more than 20 rivers, among which the Indus, Neelum and Ravi are the biggest. All these rivers flow from India into Pakistan
Wood: Kashmir is also famous for its wood, the Kashmir willow. Experts believe that it is the best wood for making a cricket bat. Kashmiri wood is also used for building boats
Sufism: Sufism, the mystical dimension of Islam, reached Kashmir in the 16th century. The Sufi tradition is associated with religious harmony. Many of the saints held dear by Kashmiris were Sufi monks. Sufi singers such as Abida Parveen are popular to this day
Kashmir on the silver screen: Kashmir used to be the most popular location of the Indian film industry during the 1980s. It was a golden era for Kashmir. However, the valley has witnessed violence on an almost daily basis ever since. These days, only one or two films are shot on location in Kashmir every year
Fighting in the clouds: the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan has been going on 1948 and experts see little hope of a solution in the foreseeable future. Both countries spend lots of resources on their half of the divided territory, with their respective armies squared off on what some view as the highest battlefield in the world, the Siachen glacier (5,753m)
Soldiers man checkpoints about every 100 metres on main roads in the city. Only people in essential jobs are allowed to leave their homes.
Virtually every shop is closed and residents said no fresh produce is arriving.
Most people stocked up with supplies of food in the days ahead of the curfew as rumours mounted that the New Delhi government was about to make its constitutional move, stripping Kashmir of its special privileges.
With the curfew biting, only soldiers and police equipped with riot shields loiter in front of apparently abandoned buses and colourful trucks that block streets of shuttered stores.
Pigeons and stray dogs in the city's scenic squares are untroubled by tourists, who journey to the region to enjoy the picturesque lake and local handicrafts and touts attempting to hawk the latest wares.
Despite the lockdown in Srinagar, reports emerged Tuesday of sporadic protests. At least six people were admitted to a hospital in the city with gunshot wounds and other injuries, a source at the facility told journalists on condition of anonymity.
Authorities have insisted the region is peaceful however.
Indian-administered Kashmir has been in the grip of a rebellion against Indian rule since 1989.
The region has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947 and the two sides have conflicting claims on the territory, over which they have fought two wars.
New Delhi rushed tens of thousands of fresh troops to the conflict-ridden valley earlier this month in anticipation of unrest over the decision. (AFP)