India’s Singh on rare Kashmir trip

AFP-JIJI

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh faced protests as he arrived for a rare visit to Indian Kashmir on Tuesday, a day after militants killed eight soldiers in the deadliest attack in the region in five years.

Singh said India was “united” in the fight against terrorism after landing in the southern town of Kishtwar as part of the two-day trip, his first to the region in three years.

Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in strength across the region for the visit and shops and other businesses, along with schools, banks and offices were closed throughout the city after the three main separatist groups called a strike to protest Singh’s visit.

Despite the high security, a group of militants staged an attack Monday on a troop convoy in the city of Srinagar, killing eight soldiers and wounding 13 others. Hizbul Mujahideen, a local pro-Pakistan militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest on Indian security forces since July 2008.