INDIA KASHMIR UNREST.jpg
Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard near a temporary barricade during curfew in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, 17 August 2016. Curfew, restrictions and curbs continued amid shutdown called by the unified separatist leaders as life remained paralyse in Kashmir for the 39th consecutive.
Photograph: EPA/FAROOQ KHAN

A key separatist leader was arrested in India-administered Kashmir after he tried to join a rally against Indian rule in the region, officials said Saturday.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who was under house arrest in the state capital Srinagar, had defied restrictions on his movement to try and join a march and was arrested Friday night, a local police officer said.

Farooq was detained at a government facility and would remain there for at least 10 days, the officer added.

The arrest comes at a time when the Kashmir valley is in the grip of widespread anti-India protests that have left 71 people dead and thousands injured.

The upsurge in violence was triggered by the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani on July 8.

On Saturday, state chief minister Mehbooba Mufti met with Indian Premier Narendra Modi and expressed support for talks with protestors to end the violence. She also blamed Pakistan for fomenting the unrest.

Disputed Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan and has been a flashpoint for more than 60 years, sparking two wars between the neighbours.

Within the Muslim-majority territory, some militant groups have taken up arms to fight for independence from Indian rule or a merger with Pakistan.

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