SRINAGAR (Web Desk) – Indian authorities have shut down printing presses and banned newspapers from publishing in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK).

Newspaper editors denounced the government action and termed it “gagging and enforcing emergency on media.”

State government spokesman and Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar said the measures were aimed at saving lives and strengthening peace efforts.

The largest street protests in recent years in IHK erupted last week after Indian troops killed the popular young leader of the largest separatist group fighting against Indian rule in the region.

A strict curfew was in effect in troubled areas for the ninth straight day Sunday, with hundreds of thousands of people trying to cope with shortages of food and other necessities. Tens of thousands of Indian government troops patrolled mostly deserted streets in the region, where shops and businesses remained closed.

Since 1989, more than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising against Indian rule and the subsequent Indian military crackdown.

Unwilling to take any chances, Indian authorities appear to be persisting with their clampdown to avoid aggravating tensions in view of Pakistan’s call for a “black day” on Tuesday to protest India’s handling of dissent in Kashmir.

On Friday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed Pakistan would continue extending political, moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris. He said he called for observing the “black day” to express solidarity with “Kashmiris who are facing atrocities at the hands of Indian forces.”