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SRINAGAR, India – Armed soldiers and police on Monday fanned out across much of Indian-controlled Kashmir to enforce a security lockdown for a straight second day to stop anti-India protests and foil a call by separatists for a public march toward India's main military garrison in the disputed region.
Government forces patrolled streets in the region's main city of Srinagar and sealed off all the roads leading to the Indian military garrison in the city.
Three Kashmiri leaders, known as Joint Resistance Leadership, or JRL, called for Kashmiris to march to the army cantonment in protest of Saturday's killings of seven civilians and three rebels during an Indian counterinsurgency operation.
Police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear and carrying automatic rifles laid steel barricades and coiled razor wire on roads and intersections to cut off neighborhoods in a bid to stop protests.
Authorities also stopped train services and suspended internet on mobile phones in the region, a common tactic to make organizing protests more difficult and stop dissemination of protest videos by Kashmiris.
Shops and businesses in other areas with no security restrictions closed to protest Indian rule.
The killings and injuries of over three dozen civilians on Saturday angered Kashmiris and sparked anti-India protests and clashes at several places in the region. Residents accused troops of directly spraying gunfire into the crowds and killing at least two civilians, including a teenage student, away from the battle site.
Police said in a statement that they regretted the killings but that the protesters had come "dangerously close" to the fighting.
Separatists who challenge India's sovereignty over Kashmir said the killings were part of India's state policy and called for three days of mourning and a general shutdown in Kashmir apart from Monday's public march.
The Indian army in a statement has appealed for people to not heed the call. The statement said the army was "fighting terrorism and proxy war sponsored by Pakistan and its proxies in Kashmir." The Indian army's objective "is to bring peace and normalcy" in Kashmir, the statement added.
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the region in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989.
Kashmiris deeply resent Indian rule and support the rebels' call that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
In recent years, mainly young Kashmiris have displayed open solidarity with the rebels and sought to protect them by engaging troops in street clashes during India's counterinsurgency operations despite repeated warnings from the Indian authorities.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.