Indian government begins process to revoke Kashmir’s special status
Thousands of troops have been deployed to the region amid a heightening of tensions.
India’s government has initiated the revocation of the Kashmir region’s special constitutional status amid uproar in parliament and a huge troop deployment in the area.
Home minister Amit Shah told members of India’s upper house that the government has decided to repeal a law that gives special status to the Himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir by presidential order.
Mr Shah said that the government has also decided to split the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be ruled directly by the central government.
The law, Article 370 of the constitution, forbids Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim the region in its entirety.
An indefinite security lockdown is in place in the Indian-controlled portion, with thousands of newly deployed soldiers camping in police stations and government buildings around the increasingly tense region.
The deployment in recent days added at least 10,000 troops in Kashmir, already one of the world’s most militarised regions.
India has also ordered thousands of tourists and Hindu pilgrims to leave the region.