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Tensions high in Jammu & Kashmir after Indian government revokes autonomy


Tensions high in Jammu & Kashmir after Indian government revokes autonomy

article 370 revoked india
Photo: Reuters

Tensions in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir are running high today after Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government revoked Article 370 of the constitution, ending the autonomy of the restive region.

Article 370 allowed the state to have its own constitution, a separate flag and independence over all matters except foreign affairs, defence and communications.

While the government argues that Article 370 had prevented Jammu and Kashmir’s development and its integration with India, critics fear its revocation could provoke serious social unrest. The region has been at the heart of bitter animosity between India and Pakistan, with tensions reaching a boiling point in February when an attack by militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad set off tit-for-tat air raids and an ensuing military standoff.

Mr Modi’s government now says it will introduce a bill to split Jammu and Kashmir into two “Union Territories”: Jammu and Kashmir—which would have a state legislature—and Ladakh, a remote and high-altitude territory that would be without a legislature. The designation means they would be subject to more central government control than if they were “states.”

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In anticipation of violence, India flooded Kashmir with thousands of extra troops on Monday and has evacuated tourists, closed schools and cut off all internet services. While Pakistan insists that the revocation of Article 370 is illegal, and has threatened to downgrade diplomatic relations and suspend bilateral trade with India, there is a high risk of rioting and communal violence in Jammu & Kashmir in the coming weeks.

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