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OCCUPIED SRINAGAR: India’s prime minister will on Sunday hold his first public event in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) since New Delhi imposed a sweeping security clampdown there more than two years ago.

It is the most militarised part of India, with more than half a million soldiers and paramilitaries deployed across the region.

Tight security is being put in place for Modi’s visit, but he can nonetheless expect a rousing welcome in Palli, with tens of thousands expected to welcome him at an event marshalled by his governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The village is in Occupied Jammu, the Hindu-majority southern part of the territory.

US lawmaker makes rare visit of AJK

Modi will preside over a ceremony to mark Panchayati Raj — a day that commemorates grassroots democracy, although IIOJK has been without an elected regional government since 2018, when the BJP left its ruling coalition and the New Delhi-appointed governor stepped in.

Its last chief minister was detained during the clampdown and only released more than a year later.

Sunday’s event will see Modi lead the region “into a new era of development”, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha told reporters.

But, he added, “it will be hard to achieve that and deflect attention from the overarching territorial dispute”.

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