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Narendra Modi’s historic Kashmir visit

Kashmir: Modi to visit Srinagar for first time since revoking special status

In a significant move, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is set to make his inaugural visit to the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley since the revocation of its semi-autonomy in 2019. The visit, scheduled just weeks before the announcement of general election dates, will feature a rally in Srinagar, where reports indicate the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to mobilize a large crowd under stringent security measures.

The revocation of Article 370, a poll promise fulfilled by Mr. Modi’s government shortly after his 2019 re-election, removed significant autonomy granted to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The move divided the region into two federally-administered territories, sparking widespread disruption and deploying tens of thousands of additional Indian troops. Mr. Modi’s upcoming visit is expected to set the tone for the BJP’s campaign in the region, with potential announcements of development projects for Kashmir.

The Supreme Court of India upheld the abrogation of Article 370 in December, emphasizing the government’s commitment to restoring Jammu-Kashmir’s statehood. Ahead of the public address, Modi will visit the Indian army headquarters in Srinagar, addressing the contentious issue of the presence of Indian forces and their alleged human rights abuses. Streets in Srinagar have been cleaned, billboards erected, and thousands of government officials reportedly summoned to attend the public meeting.

Security measures are notably heightened, with thousands of personnel deployed to guard the venue, Bakshi Stadium, where Modi will deliver his address. Vehicles entering and leaving Srinagar are subject to thorough checks, and individuals are being frisked. This visit marks one of many events in Modi’s schedule before the announcement of general election voting dates, following his recent inauguration of an underwater metro rail tunnel in Kolkata.

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