India deployed tens of thousands of additional troops in Kashmir, shut down schools and colleges, ordered tourists to leave, cut telephone and internet services and put regional political leaders under house arrest before the announcement.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on August 6, 2019

Kashmir, which is administered by India, Pakistan and China, is in the news and likely to remain so after India stripped its part of Kashmir of autonomy after 70 years. But some residents of Kashmir may not be aware of it.

On Monday, India‘s BJP-led government delivered on its election promise to strip autonomy from the 7 million people living in Jammu and Kashmir.

The announcement came after tens of thousands of additional Indian troops were deployed in Kashmir, a major Hindu pilgrimage was cancelled, schools and colleges were shut, tourists were ordered to leave, telephone and internet services were suspended and regional political leaders were placed under house arrest, BBC reported.

If you have heard previously of Kashmir, it would be because of the insurgent attacks in the state of the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir against Indian rule that have been raging for the past 30 years. It is also the reason for two of three wars between India and Pakistan who both claim Kashmir as their land.

The announcement was met with a lot of derision from Pakistan and supported by the US. Pakistan has summoned the Indian High Commissioner to Islamabad to register the country’s “unequivocal rejection” of India’s action.

“(Pakistan’s) foreign secretary conveyed Pakistan’s unequivocal rejection of these illegal actions as they are in breach of international law and several UN Security Council resolutions,” stated a Pakistan government statement on Monday (local time).

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke with his counterparts in Turkey and Malaysia to brief them on the situation.

“(PM Khan) underscored that this illegal move by India would deteriorate the peace and security of the region and would further undermine the relations between two neighbours with strategic capabilities,” read Khan’s statement on his call with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.

Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan “assured of Turkey’s steadfast support in this regard”, a Pakistan government statement said.

Kashmir has lost its own constitution, its own flag and the ability to make laws. Jammu and Kashmir had their own citizenship rules, ownership of property and fundamental rights. It could also bar Indians from outside the state from purchasing property or settling in Jammu or Kashmir. It is now a part of India.

Despite the blackout on internet services in the region, Jammu and Kashmir’s former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufi tweeted that the government’s decision is “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.

“Today marks the darkest day in Indian democracy,” Mufti wrote.

Morgan Ortagus, a spokeswoman for the US Department of State, said Washington was following events in Indian-administered Kashmir “closely”.

“We are concerned about reports of detentions and urge respect for individual rights and discussion with those in affected communities,” she said in a statement.

“We call on all parties to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control,” she added, referring to the de facto border.