A few days ago, a friend called to share plans for a week-long holiday. She had convinced her family to take the vacation in Kashmir, the perfect opportunity to escape the scorching heat of New Delhi.

It was a good time to visit the Valley. The uproar over the May 29 Shopian case — in which locals blamed the death and rape of two women on Indian security forces — had died down.

Or so it seemed.

Then my friend called again. She sounded glum and I soon knew why. The trip had been cancelled.

Her family had decided not to risk it. A curfew was in place in parts of Kashmir after security personnel in Baramulla were accused of harassing a woman.

Four protesters had died and scores injured in subsequent protests. Much of the Valley remained shut for a strike called by separatists. The streets were empty and there was little sign of tourists.