A security clampdown and a strike sponsored by separatists fighting against Indian rule Monday shut most of Indian-administered Kashmir a day after deadly protests and fierce fighting killed 16 combatants and four civilians.
Armed police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear fanned out across the region Monday and are patrolling streets in anticipation of anti-India protests and clashes.
Authorities have also clamped a curfew in the old parts of the disputed region's main city of Srinagar, the urban center of protests and clashes against Indian rule.
Shops and businesses closed in other areas where no security restrictions were in place. Separatist leaders who challenge India's sovereignty over Kashmir have called for a shutdown on Monday against the killings.
Authorities shut schools and colleges and canceled university exams in an attempt to stop protests by students. They also stopped train services and cut cellphone internet services in the most restive towns, and reduced connection speeds in other parts of the Kashmir Valley, a common government practice aimed to calm tensions and prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organized.
Troops laid steel barricades and coiled razor wire on roads and intersections to cut off neighborhoods as authorities anticipated widespread protests.
At least 13 opposition fighters and three Indian army soldiers were killed in Sunday's fighting in three gunbattles in the southern Kashmir where new-age opposition have revived militancy and challenged New Delhi's rule with guns and effective use of social media.
As the fighting raged, massive anti-India protests erupted in several parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir and at least four civilians were killed and dozens injured in the latest round of anti-India protests.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Monday discussed the situation in Kashmir over the phone, diplomatic sources said.
"We are deeply worried and saddened about the casualties and injuries that took place in Jammu Kashmir last weekend," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"We find it essential that the necessary precautions are taken to ensure that the tension in the region is reduced immediately and that the civilians are given maximum care so that they are not damaged by the clashes," the statement added.
In recent years, Kashmiris, mainly youths, have displayed open solidarity with anti-India opposition and sought to protect them by engaging troops in street clashes during military operations against the militants. The protests have persisted despite the Indian army chief warning recently that tough action would be taken against stone-throwers during counterinsurgency operations.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
The two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, which in recent years has seen renewed opposition attacks and repeated public protests against Indian rule.
The opposition has been fighting Indian rule since 1989, demanding Kashmir be made part of Pakistan or become an independent country. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the opposition, a charge Pakistan denies.
Most Kashmiris support the opposition's cause against Indian rule while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.
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