Strict curfew and communications blackout continued in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) for a ninth day after a security lockdown since last Monday, when India’s Hindu-majority government rescinded years of autonomy and gave full control to New Delhi.Officials eased restrictions earlier Sunday but imposed them again on Monday afternoon amid a tense atmosphere in the main city of Srinagar. The Indian troops had clamped tight restrictions on mosques across the valley for Eidul Azha festival, fearing anti-government protests over the stripping of the region’s autonomy, according to residents.Internet and phone communications have been cut and tens of thousands of troop reinforcements have flooded the main city of Srinagar and other towns and villages in the occupied valley. Residents had been confined to their houses due to stringent restrictions amid all the communication links of the territory with the outside world snapped by the authorities.Monday, which marked the first day of Eidul Azha, saw people not being able to offer Eid prayers and slaughter sacrificial animals. According to Kashmir Media Service, announcements were made on loudspeakers and people were warned not to come out of their houses.The Himalayan region’s biggest mosque, the Jama Masjid, was ordered shut and people were only allowed to pray in smaller local mosques so that no big crowds could gather.Meanwhile state governor Satya Pal Malik said restrictions on freedom of movement in IHK would be eased after India’s Independence Day today, although phone lines and the Internet would remain cut off.Malik told Times of India that communications would stay blocked as India’s government relaxes its clampdown since it stripped the region of its autonomy in early August.“We don’t want to give that instrument to the enemy until things settle down,” Malik told the paper in an interview.“In a week or 10 days, everything will be alright and we will gradually open lines of communication,” he said.Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi via Twitter asked Malik on Wednesday when he could visit the valley “with no conditions attached”.On Tuesday, Gandhi, addressing Malik, had said, “A delegation of opposition leaders and I will take you up on your gracious invitation to visit J&K and Ladakh. We won’t need an aircraft but please ensure us the freedom to travel and meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers stationed over there.” According to India Today, Malik hit back by saying, “Rahul Gandhi is politicising the matter by seeking to bring a delegation of opposition leaders to create further unrest and problems for the common people.” Malik said he had never invited the Congress leader with “so many pre-conditions” and has referred the matter to the local police and administration for further examination.Gandhi, in a tweet on Wednesday, asked the governor when he could visit. “Dear Maalik ji, I saw your feeble reply to my tweet. I accept your invitation to visit Jammu & Kashmir and meet the people, with no conditions attached. When can I come?” he wrote on Twitter. Tens of thousands of troop reinforcements have been deployed to the main city of Srinagar and other towns and villages, turning the picturesque city into a deserted warren of barbed wire and barricades.The lockdown, however, has not completely prevented protests. According to residents, around 8,000 people took part in a demonstration after Friday prayers, with Indian security forces firing tear gas and pellet-firing shotguns to break up the rally. On Tuesday, the Indian government confirmed for the first time that clashes took place, blaming them on “miscreants” and saying its forces reacted with “restraint”.Footage filmed by AFP on Monday showed hundreds of people protesting in the Soura area of Srinagar, shouting slogans such as “We want freedom” and “India go back”.Three helicopters continuously hovered over the area as protesters jeered and shook fists at the aircraft.“What India has done is unacceptable to us. Our struggle will continue even if India keeps Kashmir locked down for months. Only solution is that India has to accept what Kashmiris want,” one protester said.