By Aljazeera News,
The Indian government has revoked the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir, in a move that risks increasing already-heightened tensions with neighbouring Pakistan.
Monday’s presidential decree revokes Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including its right to its own constitution and decision-making process for all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.
In the lead-up to its move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the region, imposing a curfew on parts of it, shutting down telecommunications and arresting political leaders.
Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory.
The United Nations has urged the two countries to exercise restraint.
Here are all the latest updates:
Wednesday, August 7
Pakistan to downgrade ties with India over Kashmir move
Pakistan said it will “downgrade” diplomatic relations and suspend bilateral trade with India after New Delhi stripped its portion of the contested Kashmir region of special status.
The move follows a meeting of Pakistan’s National Security Committee, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to an official statement posted on Twitter.
Protesting India’s “unilateral” and “illegal” actions in Kashmir, Islamabad said it will also raise the issue with the United Nations Security Council.
Khan also directed Pakistan’s armed forces to “continue vigilance”.
Protester dies, scores arrested in Kashmir lockdown
A protester died after being chased by police and more than 100 people were arrested during a curfew in Kashmir’s main city after the restive region’s autonomy was scrapped by India, officials told AFP news agency.
Despite a paralysing curfew imposed to head off unrest, sporadic protests have been reported by residents in the main city, Srinagar. A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that in one incident a youth being chased by police “jumped into the Jhelum river and died”.
A source told AFP that at least six people have been admitted to hospital in Srinagar with gunshot wounds and other injuries from protests.
Workers leave Kashmir valley after lockdown
Thousands of workers from north Indian states have left Indian-administered Kashmir over the last three days following an unprecedented lockdown of the Himalayan valley.
Kashmir journalists struggle to tell their stories
Restrictions on movement and a communications blackout for a third day in Indian-administered Kashmir have frustrated the region’s journalists.
Most English and Urdu language newspapers based in the main city of Srinagar have not published their editions since Monday.
Local media have found it hard to publish because of a blockade [Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera]
“I tried to take some photos and videos, but the deployed forces stopped me. They asked me to shut my camera,” a news reporter told Al Jazeera.
Read more here.
Activists arrested, journalists fear for safety
Many activists were arrested in Indian-administered Kashmir, sources told Al Jazeera from Srinagar.
Journalists already struggling to get information about the disputed region out because of a communications blackout, said they fear for their safety.
One reporter, told Al Jazeera on the condition of anonymity, that his name is on a list of people who will be arrested.
Sporadic protests in Srinagar amid lockdown
Knots of young protesters threw stones at soldiers, police and a witness said, amid anger over the telecommunications clampdown that began on Sunday.
Streets in the region’s main city of Srinagar were deserted for a third day, with almost all shops shut, barring some chemists.
Armed federal police manned mobile checkpoints across the city, limiting people’s movement.
“These (protests) are mostly localised because of the heavy troop deployment,” a police officer who sought anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters news agency, adding that police used tear gas and pepper spray to scatter the protesters.
Residents of Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir lamented India’s decision to scrap the region’s special status but promised to resist the move.
Al Jazeera spoke with almost a dozen locals who fear demographic changes will now be inevitable in the Muslim-majority region.
Ghulam Mohammad Mir, a 42-year-old ambulance driver said: “Our honour has been sacrificed. When I heard about the abrogation of the terms of accession I felt like I have lost a part of my body. Kashmir is not going to remain the same area.”
Read more here.
What are Articles 370 and 35A?
Article 370 was the basis of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to the Indian union at a time when erstwhile princely states had the choice to join either India or Pakistan after their independence from the British rule in 1947.
Article 35A was introduced through a presidential order in 1954 to continue the old provisions of the territory regulations under Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
Read our explainer.
UN ‘deeply concerned’ over Kashmir curfew
The UN has expressed concern over the significant security lockdown, telecommunication restrictions and the arbitrary detention of political leaders in Indian-administered Kashmir.
“What we are witnessing now in Indian-administered Kashmir takes what was already a bit of a pattern to a new level,” said UN human rights spokesperson Rupert Colville at a press briefing in Geneva.
“We are deeply concerned that the latest restrictions will exacerbate the human rights situation in the region,” he added.