India Revokes Status of Kashmir: Border Violence a Threat
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, In Homeland Security
The government of India on Monday revoked Kashmir’s special status, a move that could trigger renewed violence in the disputed area between India and Pakistan.
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“The order revokes Article 370 of India’s Constitution, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” the Times of India said.
Home Minister Amir Shah made the announcement in the Indian Parliament as thousands of newly deployed troops arrived in Kashmir. Internet and phone services “were cut in the restive region where most people oppose Indian rule,” the Associated Press reported.
A security lock down forced residents to remain indoors.
A reorganization bill introduced by Shah provides for the formation of the union territory of Ladakh without a legislature. Jammu and Kashmir would become a separate territory with a legislature.
Move Seen as Attempt to Dilute Muslim Majority with Hindu Settlers
“Critics of India’s Hindu nationalist-led government see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers,” AP explained. “The government’s action would also strip Kashmir of its protection from Indians from outside the state permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing educational scholarships.”
Article 370 allowed Jammu and Kashmir to have its own constitution with a separate set of laws for residents that included citizenship, ownership of property and fundamental rights. Also, citizens from other states could not purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir.
India-Pakistan Turmoil Dates Back to Founding of the Two States
The Times of India published a timetable of recent “Jammu and Kashmir turmoil” between India and Pakistan, including:
- July 27: Central government rushes 10,000 troops of paramilitary forces to Jammu and Kashmir.
- August 1: Additional 28,000 sent; chairman of Jammu & Kashmir National Conference Farooq Abdullah meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- August 2: Pakistan-made mine found along the Amarnath Yatra religious trek route; Yatra curtailed and 5,000 tourists asked to move out.
- August 3: 43-day Machail Mata Yatra religious march in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir suspended; Omar Abdullah meets Jammu and Kashmir governor.
- August 4: Pakistan told to take back the bodies of Border Action Team (BAT) infiltrators killed during an infiltration attempt on August 3; former chief ministers and political leaders Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Sajad Lone placed under house arrest; internet and mobile services are suspended.
India and Pakistan have fought a number of conflicts since they gained their independence from Great Britain in 1947. The most violent clashes occurred in 1947-48, 1965 and 1971. According to Encyclopedia.com, “The roots of the conflicts lie in the hostility between Hindus and Muslims and, initially, in the disposition of self-governing princely states.”
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