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SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Tens of thousands of soldiers and police patrolled deserted streets in Indian-controlled Kashmir Saturday to enforce a curfew on the anniversary of the killing of a charismatic rebel leader, whose death triggered open defiance against Indian rule.

Government forces for the second day sealed off the hometown of the 22-year-old Burhan Wani, who was killed along with two associates in a gunbattle with Indian troops last year. Witnesses said security forces ordered residents in southern Tral town to stay indoors.

“I’ve never seen so many soldiers in aggressive posturing enforcing a curfew in my town. This is unprecedented restriction,” resident Mohammed Hanief told The Associated Press by phone.

Troops laid steel barricades and coiled razor wire on roads and intersections to cut off neighborhoods as authorities anticipated widespread protests. They also shut mobile internet services as part of the lockdown to stop activists from rallying online support.

Separatist leaders, who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir, called for a strike and protests to honor Wani. Most of the top leaders have either been detained or put under house arrest.

Wani’s killing had set off months of protests and deadly clashes across the region, during which at least 90 people were killed and thousands injured, while hundreds among them were blinded and maimed in the firing of shotgun pellets by government forces.

Wani, who attracted dozens of new recruits while using Facebook and other social media sites, had rejuvenated Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest of Kashmir’s militant groups. Its topmost leader based in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, Syed Salahuddin, was recently designated as the “global terrorist” by the U.S.

The death of Wani and the public fury it caused made the armed rebellion mainstream in Kashmir and gave new life to the militant movement that had withered in recent years, reduced to just about 100 fighters in scattered rebel outfits.

Officials say that since his killing, at least 100 young men have joined rebel ranks, some of them after snatching weapons from soldiers and police.

It also cemented a shift in public behavior by displaying anger at Indian rule openly and violently when troops raid villages and towns to hunt rebels. Villagers who had learned to hide any sympathy they felt for fighters now speak of them openly with reverence and warmth and also engage in deadly clashes with government forces during their counterinsurgency operations.

India and Pakistan control part of Kashmir, but both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety. Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence or merger with neighboring Pakistan. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting and the ensuing Indian crackdown.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep among the region’s mostly Muslim population and most people support the rebels despite a decades-long military crackdown.

India has accused Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, which Pakistan denies.