India govt strips disputed Kashmir of its special status
NEW DELHI : The Indian government yesterday revoked Kashmir's special status, stripping the significant autonomy it has enjoyed for seven decades. The move is expected to further inflame tensions in the Muslim-majority region and infuriate rival Pakistan.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist party rushed through the presidential decree to scrap the disputed region's special status in the Constitution and also moved a Bill proposing the territory be divided into two regions directly ruled by New Delhi. The decree said the measure came into force "at once".
The government imposed a security lockdown and cut all telecommunications in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir in the early hours yesterday after deploying tens of thousands of troops in the past week, claiming there was a terror threat.
Kashmir has been divided between Indian and Pakistan since independence in 1947.
For three decades, the Indian-administered part of the territory has been in the grip of an insurgency that has left tens of thousands dead.
Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party had vowed to scrap the laws, and many fear New Delhi wants to change demographics by allowing non-Kashmiris, mostly Hindus, to buy land locally. - AFP