India Approves Bill to Revoke Kashmir’s Limited Autonomy

Supporters of the religious group Jamaat-e-Islami attend a rally to protest India's policy on Kashmir, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. Pakistan President Arif Alvi convened his country's parliament to discuss India's surprise actions on Kashmir. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
AP Photo/Anjum Naveed

Lawmakers in India passed a bill Tuesday that strips the statehood of the Indian-administered portion of Muslim-majority Kashmir.

The Associated Press (AP) reports:

Indian lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that strips the statehood from the Indian-administered portion of Muslim-majority Kashmir amid an indefinite security lockdown in the disputed Himalayan territory, actions that neighboring Pakistan warned could lead to war.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government submitted the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill for a vote by the lower house of Parliament a day after the surprise measure was introduced alongside a presidential order. That order dissolved a constitutional provision, known as Article 370, which gave Kashmiris exclusive hereditary rights and a separate constitution.

Indian lawmakers passed the bill amid an indefinite security lockdown in the disputed Himalayan territory, actions that neighboring Pakistan warned could lead to war.

China, its ally Pakistan, and their mutual rival China all have competing claims to the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.

In a move that affected, seven million people, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday:

The Indian government shut off most communication with it, including internet, cellphone and landline networks. Thousands of troops were deployed to the restive region amid fears that the government’s steps could spark unrest in Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state.

On Tuesday, the New York Times added:

Government authorities severed [Kashmir] internet connections, mobile phone lines and even land lines, casting Kashmir into an information black hole that made it very difficult to discern what was unfolding.

For years, India’s Hindu nationalists have wanted to curtail the special freedoms enjoyed by Kashmir, a mountainous, predominantly Muslim territory that has turned into a tinderbox between India and Pakistan, both of which wield nuclear arms.

Human rights groups have accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of being linked to Hindu extremists. Both Pakistan and India claim Kashmir in its entirety. Pakistan has ceded some of its territories to China. Meanwhile, Beijing has occupied a small portion of Kashmir territory in India.

India’s move to take away Kashmir’s special status has triggered protests across India.

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