SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian police say they have arrested more than 600 Kashmiri residents in a crackdown against suspected separatists ahead of voting in a general election this week in Indian-controlled parts of the disputed Himalayan region.

Director-General Ashok Prasad says police and paramilitary officers made the arrests during raids over the last five days in an effort to prevent any possible anti-India protests during voting Wednesday.

Rebels and separatist politicians have urged Kashmiris to boycott the elections, which they call a “military exercise” by an overbearing New Delhi.

The vote is being held over several days in Kashmir to allow security forces to better guard the polls. Thousands protested during voting on April 24, when police say suspected rebels gunned down an election official and wounded three soldiers.

Subscribe to Asian Correspondent

Receive our weekly round-up of the most important stories in Asia

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.