India strips disputed Kashmir of special status

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India has deployed tens of thousands of troops to Indian-administered Kashmir in recent days (AFP)

(BBC) India’s government has revoked part of the constitution that gives Indian-administered Kashmir special status, in an unprecedented move likely to spark unrest.

Article 370 is sensitive because it is what guarantees significant autonomy for the Muslim-majority state.

There has been a long-running insurgency on the Indian side.

Nuclear powers India and Pakistan have fought two wars and a limited conflict over Kashmir since 1947.

The BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi says that for many Kashmiris, Article 370 was the main justification for being a part of India and by revoking it, the BJP has irrevocably changed Delhi’s relationship with the region.

Pakistan condemned India’s decision to revoke the special status of its part of Kashmir as illegal, saying it would “exercise all possible options” to counter it.

“India is playing a dangerous game which will have serious consequences for regional peace and stability,” said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

But an Indian government source said there was no external implication as the Line of Control, the de facto border, and boundaries of Kashmir had not been altered.

Why are there tensions over Kashmir?

During the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, some expected Jammu and Kashmir, like other Muslim-majority regions, to go to Pakistan.

But the ruler of the princely state, who had initially wanted Jammu and Kashmir to become independent, joined India in return for help against an invasion of tribesmen from Pakistan.

War broke out between India and Pakistan, and Kashmir effectively became partitioned.

The region, which remains one of the most militarised zones in the world, has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for more than six decades.