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Indian PM Visits Kashmir


An Indian policeman stands guard behind concertina wire during a general strike in Srinagar, June 25, 2013.
India's prime minister has made a rare visit to Indian Kashmir, a day after militants killed eight soldiers and wounded 13 others.

Manmohan Singh arrived in Kashmir Tuesday, accompanied by Sonia Gandhi, leader of India's ruling Congress Party.

Tuesday marked the first time the prime minister has visited the Indian-controlled part of the divided Himalayan territory in three years.

Large numbers of police and paramilitary forces were deployed to Srinagar, Kashmir's main city, ahead of Singh's visit.

Kashmir separatists called for a general strike to coincide with the Mr. Singh's visit. Shops, businesses, schools and banks were closed. The strike reflects public anger with New Delhi on the Indian side of the disputed region.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both countries. The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over the region.

Muslim separatists have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from Hindu-majority India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan. Thousands have been killed in the insurgency.

Hizbul Mujahideen, Kashmir's largest rebel group, has claimed responsibility for Monday's attack.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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