Modi is scheduled to speak on Sunday at his first public event since his government stripped Kashmir of semi-autonomous status.
Six suspected rebels and an Indian paramilitary were killed in two separate clashes in Indian Kashmir days before Prime Minister Narendra Modiof the visit to the disputed region.
A gun battle broke out on the outskirts of the southern city of Jammu early Friday after police and soldiers spotted a group of armed men in Sunjwan, a garrison town, police said.
Two combatants and a paramilitary officer were killed, and at least two soldiers and two police officers were wounded in the ensuing firefight.
Troops were searching the area that saw an attack in 2018 that killed five soldiers and one civilian.
Dilbag Singh, director general of the police, told reporters that the slain gunmen “were planning a big attack”.
Some 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the city of Sunjwan, Modi is scheduled to speak on Sunday at his first public event in the disputed region since New Delhi stripped him of his semi-autonomous status in 2019 and divided it into two directly governed territories.
Authorities thousands arrested and imposed the world’s longest internet shutdown, seeking to avoid local opposition to the move.
The Indian government said the move to change Kashmir’s status was made to integrate the Muslim-majority region with the rest of the country for development.
The region has been kept on edge since authorities put in place a series of new laws that critics and many residents fear could change. demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir.
Modi’s previous two visits after Kashmir’s status was changed were to military camps to celebrate a Hindu festival with soldiers.
‘Conspiracy’ to ruin Modi’s visit
Singh said the gunmen were a “Pakistan suicide squad” and their infiltration was likely part of a “conspiracy to sabotage” Modi’s visit.
“But timely action by our alert forces has thwarted the offer,” he said. The police chief did not offer any evidence to support his claim.
Separately, government forces fought for a second day against a group of rebels holed up in Malwah, a town northwest of the region’s main city Srinagar, leaving four rebels dead, police said on Friday.
The shooting began on Thursday after police and soldiers raided a group of civilian homes in Malwah. At least four soldiers and a police officer were also injured.
Police identified one of the dead rebels as Yousuf Kantroo and said he was the longest surviving rebel commander in Kashmir. There was no independent confirmation of the incidents.
India and Pakistan claim the divided territory of Kashmir in its entirety.
Rebels in the Indian-controlled part have fought New Delhi’s government since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebels’ goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.
Kashmir is the most militarized part of India with more than half a million soldiers and paramilitaries deployed throughout the region.