STORY: Shops and business establishments in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian Kashmir, were closed in response to a strike call by separatists protesting the general elections that began on Thursday (April 11).
Roads largely bore a deserted look as residents chose to remain indoors. Security personnel maintained strict vigil and barricades restricted movement of vehicles.
The shutdown call was given by leaders of several Kashmiri separatist groups against the parliamentary elections, questioning of a separatist leader in New Delhi and curbs on civilian traffic along a highway linking the restive province to the rest of India.
Kashmir is one of the key issues in the Indian general election. It has taken some of the attention away from concerns about the way Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party have managed the economy, and issues such as weak farm incomes and poor jobs growth.
Voting in the first of seven rounds is being held in 91 parliament constituencies across 20 states and federally administered regions. There are 543 seats at stake. Spread over 39 days, the final phase of the election will be held on May 19, and the result will be announced on May 23.