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Government Imposes Curbs on Lavish Weddings in Indian-Held Kashmir

The government in the India-held portion of Kashmir has reportedly implemented restrictions on expensive and extravagant weddings, limiting the number of guests the parents of the bride and groom can invite to no more than 500 and 400, respectively.

New Delhi’s curbs on lavish weddings come amid ongoing clashes between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan that claimed the lives of 100 civilians last year alone, excluding fatalities among security forces.

India, Pakistan, and China all have competing claims to the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir.

“The government also said that no more than seven main dishes can be served to ‘ensure that there is no wastage of any food items.’ An MP [member of parliament] has also proposed a bill to impose a similar ban on expensive weddings across India,” notes BBC.

Curbs imposed on the lavish weddings come as many people across India find themselves facing poverty, a situation exacerbated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprising move last November to pull large cash bills from circulation.

Despite allowing citizens to exchange a limited amount of the large amount cash bills each day at specific locations, many were unable to do and ultimately lost their money.

BBC notes:

The state government said the order, which comes into effect from 1 April, was issued in response to public complaints about extravagance, waste and intrusive noise.

[…]

In November, the five-day wedding of businessman and former Karnataka state minister G Janardhana Reddy’s daughter, Brahmani, with an estimated cost of about 5bn [billion] rupees ($74m; £59m), prompted outrage as millions of Indians struggled with a cash flow crisis.

New Delhi’s attempt to limit extravagant weddings in its portion of Kashmir comes amid renewed deadly clashes between India and Pakistan in the region.

Despite a 2003 ceasefire agreement between Indian and Pakistan, confrontations between the two countries claimed the lives of various security forces from both sides last year in addition to an estimated 100 civilians.

The deadly clashes appeared to slow down towards the end of 2016, but the animosity between the two regional rivals in Kashmir remains alive and well.

“At least three Pakistani soldiers have been killed by Indian border forces in Kashmir, according to officials in Islamabad, while an equal number of Indian troops and one suspected rebel were gunned down in separate clashes,” reported Al Jazeera earlier this month.

“The latest violence came three days after four suspected rebels, a civilian and three soldiers, were killed in south Kashmir, sparking pro-independence demonstrations that were put down with live ammunition and pellet guns, wounding more than two dozen people,” it adds.

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