Millions of people in Indian-administered Kashmir are living under curfew after the central government revoked an article of the constitution guaranteeing the state semi-autonomy. Thousands of troops have been sent to the Muslim-majority region to enforce government control, while telephone lines and internet connections have been blocked. Hundreds of people, from Kashmiri rights activists to professors and business leaders, have been detained by Indian authorities.
A day after Kashmir’s special status was removed on August 5, India’s parliament moved swiftly to pass The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill. The new act downgraded Jammu and Kashmir from a state to a union territory, while also separating the Ladakh region as another union territory. The sweeping changes in Kashmir come three months after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a general election in which they pledged to revoke Kashmir’s special status. But while prime minister Narendra Modi says the changes will herald a “new era” of growth in Kashmir, residents are angry that they have no voice as their rights are removed. Neighbouring Pakistan is also incensed at the move and has downgraded diplomatic and trade ties with India.
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