The Indian government has revoked the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly 70 years.
A presidential decree issued on August 5 revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters, except defence, communications and foreign affairs.
In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet, and arrested political leaders.
The move has worsened the already-heightened tensions with neighbouring Pakistan, which said it would downgrade its diplomatic relations with India.
Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory. A rebellion in Indian-administered Kashmir has been ongoing for three decades.
Here are the latest updates:
Thursday, August 15
India’s Modi defends decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended on Thursday his decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status, saying the move is to ensure the idea of “One Nation, One Constitution”, which he said will foster growth in the troubled region.
Modi made the statement at the 73rd anniversary celebration of Indian independence in New Delhi.
“We don’t believe in delaying solving problems, we also don’t let problems fester,” Modi said, saying two-thirds of both houses of parliament approved the plan.
“This shows everyone wanted to do this but no one was willing to be the first to take this step,” he said.
“In less than 70 days of the new Government, Article 370 has become history, and in both Houses of Parliament, 2/3rd of the members supported this step.”
Wednesday, August 14
How are Kashmiris coping under lockdown?
Millions in Indian-administered Kashmir are living under curfew after the government revoked the state’s semi-autonomy.
Thousands of troops were sent to the Muslim-majority region, while telephone lines and internet connections are blocked.
Al Jazeera’s The Stream look at what lies in store for the people of Kashmir amid the ongoing lockdown.
Watch the special episode here.
Indian activists release report after Kashmir visit
A group of Indian activists, economists, writers and members of leftist organisations presented their observations of the situation in Kashmir in capital New Delhi on Wednesday after returning from a five-day trip to the disputed region.
Kavita Krishnan, a left-wing activist, said the situation is “absolutely not normal,” contrary to reports by several Indian news broadcasters.
Read the full story.
Pakistan protests killing of villager in Kashmir
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it has summoned an Indian diplomat to protest the killing of a civilian by Indian fire in disputed Kashmir.
The ministry said in a statement that a 38-year-old villager was killed on Tuesday by an “unprovoked cease-fire violation by Indian troops on the Pakistani side of Kashmir.”
Restrictions in Jammu region lifted: Report
Restrictions in the Jammu region of Indian-administered Kashmir have been “completely removed”, Indian news agency PTI, quoting a senior police official, has said.
“Restrictions imposed in Jammu have been completely removed and schools and other establishments there are functioning. Restrictions will continue in some places of Kashmir for sometime,” Additional Director General Munir Khan said, according to PTI.
India will celebrate its independence day on Thursday.
India’s Kashmir move ‘strategic blunder by Modi’
India’s move of revoking Article 370 and imposing a lockdown in Kashmir is a strategic blunder by Indian PM Narendra Modi, his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan has said while addressing legislators in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Khan visited Muzaffarabad on Pakistan’s independence day as he reaffirmed his support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle for self-determination amid heightened tensions with neighbouring India.
Read more here.
Kashmir leader Shah Faesal ‘arrested at Delhi airport’
Shah Faesal, a former bureaucrat who launched a political party in Indian-administered Kashmir earlier this year, has been arrested at New Delhi airport and sent back to Srinagar, according to Indian media reports.
On Tuesday, Faesal had tweeted that Kashmir “will need a long, sustained, non-violent” movement for the restoration of the Muslim-majority region’s special status under the Indian constitution.
Hundreds of politicians and activists, including two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir state, are under arrest in the disputed region since August 4, when the security lockdown began.
Kashmir will need a long, sustained, non-violent political mass movement for restoration of the political rights.
Abolition of Article 370 has finished the mainstream.
Constitutionalists are gone.
So you can either be a stooge or a separatist now.
No shades of grey.
— Shah Faesal (@shahfaesal) August 13, 2019
Imran Khan visits Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has visited Pakistan-administered Kashmir as he reiterates his support to the Kashmiri people living in the Indian-administered part of the divided region.
Khan’s visit to Muzzaffarad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, to mark the country’s independence day came more than a week after New Delhi’s decision to downgrade Kashmir’s status.
Read more here.
Pakistan observes ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’
Pakistan is observing its 72nd independence day in solidarity with the people of Kashmir this year.
While addressing a flag hoisting ceremony in the capital, Islamabad, President Arif Alvi said that Pakistan has always stood by Kashmiris and would continue to do so, local media Dawn reported.
“We will not leave them alone at any step,” said Alvi. “Kashmiris are our [people]. We think of their pain as our pain.”
Government has decided to observe Independence Day this year as #KashmirSolidarityDay to show Pakistan’s support and unity with the people of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir for their ongoing freedom struggle.#IndependenceDayWithKashmir #StandWithKashmir pic.twitter.com/aztlExiJ4t
— Government of Pakistan (@GovtofPakistan) August 13, 2019
Kashmir curfew to be eased after Thursday: Governor
Restrictions on freedom of movement in Indian-administered Kashmir will be eased after India’s Independence Day on Thursday, the state governor said, although phone lines and the internet will remain cut off.
Satya Pal Malik told the Times of India that communications will stay blocked as India’s government relaxes its clampdown since it stripped the region of its autonomy in early August.
“We don’t want to give that instrument to the enemy until things settle down,” Malik told the newspaper in an interview.
“In a week or 10 days, everything will be alright and we will gradually open lines of communication,” he said.
Dear Maalik ji,
I saw your feeble reply to my tweet.
I accept your invitation to visit Jammu & Kashmir and meet the people, with no conditions attached.
When can I come?
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 14, 2019
Tuesday, August 13
Amnesty condemns India court’s support for crackdown
Amnesty International India condemned a decision by India’s Supreme Court to allow New Delhi to continue a security crackdown and communications blackout in Kashmir.
In a press release, the human rights organisation said the court’s refusal to pass an order on lifting restrictions in Kashmir was “a blow to the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.
It added that the Supreme Court’s plan to review the situation after two weeks “extends the status quo on the blanket restrictions”.
Amnesty also expressed “deep concern” over the people’s right to freedom of movement and freedom of expression and opinion, as well as the detention of political leaders and activists, and “the impairment of the press to freely report on the current developments and act as a bridge for the voices from the region”.
Urging New Delhi to ease restrictions imposed in Kashmir, Amnesty warned that “a complete clampdown on civil liberties is only likely to increase tensions, alienate the people and increase the risk of further human rights violations”.
Pakistan calls on UNSC to address India’s Kashmir move
The Pakistani government asked the United Nations Security Council to meet over India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Pakistan will not provoke a conflict. But India should not mistake our restraint for weakness,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote in a letter to the council seen by Reuters news agency.
“If India chooses to resort again to the use of force, Pakistan will be obliged to respond, in self-defense, with all its capabilities,” he said, adding that “in view of the dangerous implications” Pakistan requested the meeting.
It was not immediately clear how the 15-member council would respond to the request and whether a member of the body would also need to make a formal request.
Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz told reporters at the UN that the council had received a letter from Pakistan and “will discuss that issue and take a proper decision”.
Poland holds the presidency of the council for August.
Kashmir: Srinagar a maze of razor wires and steel barriers
The main city in the Indian-administered part of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir has turned into a vast maze of razor wire coils and steel barricades as drones and helicopters hover overhead.
Although the four million residents of the Kashmir Valley, where an armed conflict has simmered for decades, are used to blockades, the one imposed after the Indian government’s surprise move last week to strip the region of constitutional privileges is something residents say they have never seen before.
Amid the labyrinth whose entry and exit points are changed frequently, people find themselves disoriented in their own city, and struggle to memorise its frequently changing street map.
“The entire Srinagar city has been knitted in razor wire to seek our silence and obedience,” resident Zameer Ahmed told The Associated Press news agency.
Read more here.
India Supreme Court says Kashmir crackdown to continue
India‘s Supreme Court, which is reviewing a petition for the immediate withdrawal of severe government restrictions in Kashmir, said that the security crackdown and communications blackout in the region should continue.
The bench said the situation in Kashmir was “sensitive” and that the government needed more time to tackle it.
“The situation is dynamic and changing every day,” Attorney General KK Venugopal said in the Supreme Court, according to legal reporting website Bar&Bench.
“We are reviewing the situation and lifting restrictions step by step,” he added.
It was not clear how long the restrictions would continue, with Venugopal saying it could take days or months.
Kashmir security lockdown enters 9th day
An unprecedented security lockdown is keeping people in Indian-administered Kashmir indoors for a ninth day.
Residents were running short of essentials under the near-constant curfew and communications blackout.
The lockdown is expected to last at least through Thursday, India’s independence day.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress on #Article370: The manner in which it has been done is completely unconstitutional & it's against all the principles of democracy, there are rules to be followed when such things are done, which were not followed. pic.twitter.com/av4RAsATNi
— ANI (@ANI) August 13, 2019
Rights activists write open letter to Modi
An open letter signed by 69 human rights activists and organisations, lawyers, journalists and academics, addressed to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised concerns over the human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir under a crippling lockdown.
The letter called on Modi to immediately revoke the curfew, reinstate communication, release all those arbitrarily detained over the last few days, and restore the status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of India’s constitution, which granted the Muslim-majority state considerable autonomy.
Read more here.
Kashmir protests overshadow Eid festivities
Hundreds of protesters defied a security lockdown in Indian-administered Kashmir on the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday, as they marched on the streets of capital, Srinagar.
The protests lasted for a few hours after Eid prayers, before demonstrators dispersed peacefully.
“For Muslims, there are two days which are festive and sacred, and that’s Eid … but this is not our Eid. We are just mourning in Kashmir,” a resident told Al Jazeera.
Trump’s Kashmir mediation offer ‘not on table anymore’: Report
US President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation on the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan is “not on the table anymore,” Indian media reports quoting India’s ambassador to the United States said.
“President Trump has made it very clear that his offer to mediate on Jammu and Kashmir is dependent on both India and Pakistan accepting it. Since India has not accepted the offer of mediation, he has made it clear that this is not on the table anymore,” Harsh Vardhan Shringla told a US-based news channel.
India calls the part of Kashmir it administers its “internal affair” and rejects any mediation, while Pakistan, which also claims the Himalayan region in full, wants world powers to resolve the issue.
Monday, August 12
Priyanka Chopra accused of ‘encouraging nuclear war’
Indian actress Priyanka Chopra has been branded a hypocrite over a tweet she posted in February amid escalating tensions between neighbours India and Pakistan.
The incident, which was widely shared online, took place during a cosmetics event on Saturday in the US city of Los Angeles when audience member Ayesha Malik accused Chopra of “encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan”.
"You are a UNICEF ambassador for peace, and you're encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan."
Indian actress Priyanka Chopra was confronted by a Pakistani-American woman, who called her a "hypocrite" over her pro-army tweet. pic.twitter.com/uJwqVJALes
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) August 13, 2019
Read more here.
Kashmiris fear escalating tension
People living in the disputed region of Kashmire have said they are afraid of escalating tension.
The disputed region is one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints between nuclear-armed rivals, Pakistan and India.
Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid reports from the line of control in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
HRW: Kashmir lockdown not a sustainable solution
US-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has expressed concern over the continued lockdown and communications blackout in Indian-administered Kashmir.
“There has to be a rights respecting-approach to handle the situation in Kashmir, where people are able to speak to their loved ones, have access to communication, essential supplies and hospitals, but we are seeing none of that,” Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW’s South Asia director, told Al Jazeera from Mumbai.
“This is not a sustainable solution. If the Indian government has decided to impose restrictions … they should ensure the Kashmiris are able to live their lives normally,” she added.
Activists in India mark Eid in solidarity with Kashmir
Almost 300 Kashmiris and activists gathered in India’s capital, New Delhi, to mark the Eid al-Adha celebration as Indian-administered Kashmir remains under lockdown for a week.
“I am here to express my solidarity with the people of Kashmir who have not been able to go home and are not able to talk to their parents because there is a total clampdown on communication,” said activist Shabnam Hashmi. “We are not celebrating Eid today.”
Pakistanis dedicate Eid prayers to Kashmir
The Pakistani government has called for the Eid al-Adha celebration to be observed in a “simple manner” this year, to express solidarity with Kashmiris living on the Indian side of the divided region.
Pakistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi travelled to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, to offer Eid prayers at a mosque there.
In the southern city of Karachi, prayers were dedicated to Kashmiris in India. “We are together with our Kashmiri brothers,” said resident Mohammad Adnan.
“We share their pain and grief. Today, special prayers were offered for them inside the mosque.”
Amid ‘Eid siege’, Kashmiris try to reach loved ones
On the lawn of the district commissioner’s office in Srinagar, the main city of Indian-administered Kashmir, residents circle a table, hoping their turn will come soon.
With phone and internet usage cut off during a week-long lockdown imposed by the Indian government, authorities are allowing locals to use a mobile phone to briefly speak to their loved ones outside the Muslim-majority state.
Read more here.
India imposes tighter curbs to prevent Eid protests
Indian troops imposed tight restrictions on mosques across Kashmir for the Eid al-Adha celebration, fearing anti-government protests over the stripping of the Muslim-majority region’s autonomy, according to residents.
The Himalayan region’s biggest mosque, the Jama Masjid, was ordered to be closed and people were only allowed to pray in smaller local mosques so that no big crowds could gather, witnesses said.
All phone lines and the internet remained cut off for an eighth day on Monday.
India wants Davis Cup tie moved from Pakistan
India has asked the International Tennis Federation to move their upcoming Davis Cup tie from Pakistan to a neutral venue due to escalating political tensions between the two nations.
The Indian team is scheduled to be in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, for the Asia/Oceania zone Group I tie to be held on September 14 and 15.
“We have asked ITF for a neutral venue because the situation is a bit unpredictable,” All India Tennis Association (AITA) president Praveen Mahajan told AFP on Sunday.
“I believe it is a reasonable request because of the current state of affairs.”
Wife of Kashmir leader appeals for UN intervention
Mushaal Hussein Mullick, the wife of Yasin Malik, a leading Kashmiri rebel leader held by India, has appealed to the world to “wake up” and intervene as the situation in the disputed territory remains tense.
Mullick told British broadcaster Sky News that “time is running short”, and that her husband’s “only hope is that the world will come forward”.
Yasin Malik used to head pro-independence group the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which was banned in March as part of India’s crackdown on separatist groups.
Malik was arrested a month later and is being held at Tihar prison in New Delhi. “He is so weak and doctors … they’ve all said that he’s going to die like this,” his wife said.
Sunday, August 11
Pakistan’s foreign minister attacks India over Kashmir move
Pakistan’s foreign minister has strongly criticised the Indian government for its revocation of Kashmir’s autonomous status.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera in Muzaffarabad, Qureshi said: “Pakistan is watching the situation carefully, and so is the world.”
“We are concerned about the genocide that we feel can take place, or perhaps is taking place right now, because we have no idea what’s going on in the Indian-occupied Kashmir right now,” he argued.
“When they lifted the curfew for a few hours we saw thousands of people protesting in the streets, so it’s an evolving situation.”
Watch the interview at the video below.
India’s Kashmir move ‘inspired by Nazi ideology’: Khan
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has said India’s decision to scrap the special status of Kashmir was inspired by the “Nazi ideology”.
“The curfew, crackdown and impending genocide of Kashmiris in IOK [India-Occupied Kashmir as Islamabad refers to Indian-administered Kashmir] is unfolding exactly [according] to RSS ideology inspired by Nazi ideology,” Khan tweeted.
Pakistan has downgraded its diplomatic relations and suspended bilateral trade over New Delhi’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the Indian constitution and divide the Muslim-majority state into two “union territories”.
I am afraid this RSS ideology of Hindu Supremacy, like the Nazi Aryan Supremacy, will not stop in IOK; instead it will lead to suppression of Muslims in India & eventually lead to targeting of Pakistan. The Hindu Supremacists version of Hitler's Lebensraum.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 11, 2019
India eases restrictions for Eid al-Adha celebration
Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir said they have eased restrictions in most parts of the main city of Srinagar ahead of the Islamic celebration of Eid al-Adha.
In a tweet, local magistrate Shahid Choudhary said more than 250 ATMs have been made functional and bank branches opened for people to withdraw money before the celebration.
There was no immediate independent confirmation of reports by authorities that people were visiting shopping areas for Eid purchases as all communications and the internet remain cut off for a seventh day.
Opinion: Kashmiri Pandits must reimagine idea of return
The dream of Kashmiri Pandits’ return to their homeland in the Kashmir Valley has surfaced once again with the Indian government’s stealthy abrogation on August 5 of Article 370, the constitutional provision that has secured the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir state since India’s independence in 1947.
With the associated revocation of Article 35 A, which had allowed the state to define permanent residency, the doors were effectively thrown open for all Indians to buy land in Kashmir.
Across news coverage, after the decision was made, many Kashmiri Pandits – native Brahmin Hindus of the Kashmir Valley – who had left their homes in Kashmir in the 1990s, were seen celebrating. They were hopeful that they could now return “on their own terms”.
Read more here.
Saturday, August 10
With China’s support, Pakistan to go to Security Council
China has pledged its “full support” for Islamabad’s plan to take up India’s actions in Kashmir at the United Nations Security Council, according to Pakistan’s foreign minister.
“I have shared with China that the Pakistan government has decided to take this issue to UN Security Council. We will be needing China’s help there,” Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a news conference in Beijing.
“China has assured full support to Pakistan,” he added.
Qureshi said he planned to approach Indonesia and Poland, both non-permanent members of the 15-strong Security Council, for their support.
Iran urges India, Pakistan to avoid ‘hasty’ Kashmir decision
The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces cautioned Pakistan and India to avoid any “hasty decisions” in Kashmir, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
“The parties are expected to refrain from any hasty decision on the fate of the [Kashmir] region, without regards to the people’s will,” Major General Mohammad Baqeri was quoted by Fars.
Baqeri made the remark during a telephone call with Pakistan’s army chief.
Kashmir capital readies for Eid after protest broken up
Big queues formed in Indian-administered Kashmir’s main city on Saturday outside cash machines and food stores as authorities eased a crippling curfew to let the Muslim-majority region prepare for the Eid al-Adha celebration.
But huge numbers of troops remained on the streets a day after security forces used tear gas to break up a demonstration by about 8,000 people against the government’s move to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy, they added.
Read the detailed report here.
Pakistan cuts last remaining transport link to India over Kashmir dispute
Pakistan said on Saturday it had cancelled a bus linking Lahore with India’s capital New Delhi, the last remaining public transport link between the neighbours.
Islamabad reacted with fury this week after India revoked the special status for the portion of Kashmir that it controls, calling the action illegal, a claim New Delhi denies.
Pakistan has already cut two rail links, suspended bilateral trade and expelled India’s ambassador, all part of what it called a diplomatic effort to protest against the decision.
The service, known as the “friendship bus”, has long been seen as a symbolic link between the two countries. Launched in 1999, it has run almost continuously since, including throughout the last crisis between the two countries in February.
Kashmir party challenges gov’t move in Supreme Court
The National Conference (NC), one of the main pro-India political parties in Indian-administered Kashmir, has moved the Supreme Court over the government’s decision to revoke the region’s special status, Indian media reports said.
A petition filed by two NC leaders has challenged the Hindu nationalist government abrogating Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted the Muslim-majority state its special status.
Their plea has also challenged the decision to divide the state into two “union territories”, the reports said, adding that the party considered the two moves “illegal”.
NC leader Omar Abdullah has been under arrest since the Kashmir clampdown began on Monday, along with rival Mehbooba Mufti and hundreds of other leaders and activists. Abdullah and Mufti are former chief ministers of the Jammu and Kashmir state.
‘Want Muslim world to come forward for Kashmir’
Kashmiri activist and sportswoman Fatima Anwar has called on Turkey and Muslim-majority countries to play an active role in resolving the current crisis in Indian-administered Kashmir.
“The people of Kashmir want the Muslim world to come forward and play their role to get this core issue resolved,” Anwar said in an open letter to various heads of states on Twitter.
“We want to use our right of self-determination, and most importantly, we need our basic right to live,” she wrote. “We will never allow India to make Jammu and Kashmir another Palestine.”
Friday, August 9
Status change will allow Indians to marry ‘girls from Kashmir’
A politician from India’s ruling party has welcomed the stripping of special rights from Kashmir, saying it clears the way for Indians from outside the territory to marry women from there, according to the ANI news agency.
Manohar Lal Khattar, who is also the chief minister of Haryana state, was quoted as saying: “Our minister OP Dhankar [cabinet minister] used to say he will bring daughters in law from Bihar [state]. Nowadays people are saying that path to Kashmir has been cleared. Now we will bring girls from Kashmir.”
Under Kashmir’s previous status, residents of Jammu and Kashmir had exclusive rights to property and state government jobs, among other privileges, though women marrying non-residents stood to lose those benefits.
China ‘seriously concerned’ about escalating Kashmir tensions
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Pakistani counterpart that Beijing was “seriously concerned about the turbulence and escalating tensions” in Kashmir, according to a statement.
Wang, who met Shah Mahmood Qureshi for hastily arranged talks, said China “will continue to firmly support the Pakistan side in safeguarding its legitimate rights,” the statement said.
China, which also controls a section of Kashmir, said the issue should be resolved at the United Nations.
Qureshi released a video statement after the meeting in which he added: “I am very pleased that China once again proved today that it is Pakistan’s reliable friend”.
India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is to visit Beijing from Sunday for talks with Wang.
Indian troops fire tear gas to disperse Srinagar protesters
Security forces in Srinagar have fired tear gas and shot in the air to disperse thousands of people demonstrating against India’s stripping of the region’s autonomy, local sources have told Al Jazeera.
The protests in the main city of Indian-administered Kashmir took place after Friday prayers, Al Jazeera’s Priyanka Gupta said, reporting from the Indian capital, New Delhi.
“Despite the unprecedented security lockdown, thousands of people demonstrated in Srinagar and were met with live fire, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets,” she said, citing sources in the city.
The protest was the “largest of its kind” since the Indian government’s move on Monday. Read the detailed report here.
Ban on public gatherings lifted in Jammu, schools to reopen
The magistrate for Jammu district in Indian-administered Kashmir said all schools in the Hindu-majority area “may resume their functioning” from Saturday onwards.
The statement by Sushma Chauhan also lifted a ban on gatherings of more than four people in the district.
Friday prayers held in Kashmir amid tight security
Local media posted videos and photos from Indian-administered Kashmir showing dozens of people walking on the streets of Srinagar for the first time this week to offer prayers at mosques guarded by police.
The main Jama Masjid mosque in Srinagar’s old quarter was closed, however, with policemen in riot gear posted every few metres around the building. One officer said he faced regular attacks from young people throwing stones.
“Every time we have embraced India, they have cut our throats,” read a handwritten poster at another mosque, which also urged Kashmiris not to sell land and to hold protests after Eid prayers on Monday.
Pellet gun attack victims fighting for their lives
Witness reports emerged of Indian troops using excessive force on protesters in Indian-administered Kashmir, causing life-threatening injuries.
“The government will deny these injuries as there is no proper reporting or documentation of these incidents. We won’t be able to know about most of the casualties.”
Read the detailed report here.
Thar Express shut down by Pakistan
Pakistan said it will halt the last train service running to India.
“We have decided to shut down the Thar Express as well,” Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed told reporters.
On Thursday, Pakistan suspended the Samjhauta Express, its main train service to India, and banned Indian films.
Protests expected in Pakistan, Srinagar
Authorities in Pakistan and Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir are bracing for protests on Friday.
Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said two protests were scheduled in the Pakistani capital after Friday prayers.
“Organisers of one protest have threatened to march to the Indian High Commission which is located in Islamabad’s red zone,” he said.
Priyanka Gupta, reporting for Al Jazeera from New Delhi, said the government was monitoring the situation in Kashmir very closely.
“The Friday prayers took place under heavy security. There have been sporadic clashes in the last four days but we’re expecting more protests happening later on Friday,” she said.
Demonstrations against India’s move in Kashmir have been taking place around the world.
— Atik Liman (@atikul_liman) August 9, 2019
Great to join fellow Kashmiris here in Manchester yesterday to protest against the revocation of #Article370 by India. We need to ensure that the people in Kashmir are able to live freely, and be given back their rights! #StandwithKashmir pic.twitter.com/36nvKoiGKW
— Afzal Khan MP 🧡 (@Afzal4Gorton) August 9, 2019
Thousands flee border villages along LoC
Thousands of villagers living along the heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC) dividing Pakistan- and Indian-administered Kashmir have migrated to safer places fearing artillery fire exchanges across the border.
“There is fear in the area and residents are preparing to leave their homes if a cross-border exchange of fire takes place. The LoC is just three kilometres from where we are,” Muhammad Mukhtar, a 38-year-old vet, told Al Jazeera.
Read more here.
Curfew to be eased for Friday prayers
The strict curfew in Kashmir that has entered a fifth day was eased for Friday prayers, according to the police chief.
“People will be allowed to go to the area-specific mosques for the prayers in most parts of the Srinagar city,” the region’s police chief, Dilbagh Singh, told The Associated Press.
The relaxing of the curfew was temporary but a precise timeframe was not given.
Pakistan FM visiting ‘trusted friend’ China over Kashmir
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is visiting China as part of efforts to pressure India to reverse its decision to revoke the special status of the disputed region of Kashmir.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi will meet with Chinese leaders on Friday. Before leaving for Beijing, Qureshi said he will apprise Islamabad’s “trusted friend” about the situation.
Pakistan says it is considering a proposal to approach the International Court of Justice over India’s action.
Kashmir’s streets silent as people’s despair and rage grow
Silence cloaked the centre of Srinagar on Friday, its once-teeming streets blocked with spools of concertina wire. Every road was sealed off. The population forced to remain indoors while thousands of Indian soldiers in camouflage were on patrol, carrying guns at their waists.
Friday marked the fourth day since the main city in Indian-administered Kashmir was under siege.
Muslim worshippers were expected to attend Friday prayers at mosques across the region later on Friday.
Thursday, August 8
UN urges ‘maximum restraint’ amid Kashmir row
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, has appealed for “maximum restraint” as tensions escalate between India and Pakistan over New Delhi’s move on Kashmir.
Recalling the 1972 Simla Agreement, in which New Delhi and Islamabad committed to bilateral negotiations to resolve their dispute over Kashmir, Guterres called on “all parties to refrain from taking steps that could affect” the region’s status.
In his statement, Guterres also expressed concern over reports of “restrictions on the Indian-side of Kashmir”, saying they could exacerbate the human rights situation in the region.
Some government offices and schools to reopen in Kashmir
India’s ANI news agency said Indian-administered Kashmir’s top civil servant has ordered government employees “who are working at divisional level, district level and those serving in civil secretariat, to report back to their duties with immediate effect”.
All schools in the southern district of Samba will also reopen on Friday, the agency said, citing an official statement.
Modi says ‘new era’ has begun in Kashmir
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged a “new era” of economic growth in Kashmir following his government’s decision to strip the territory of its special rights.
But in his first address to the nation since the move, Modi did not address the four-day-long security lockdown or communications blackout in the region.
He described Article 370 as an “obstacle” to the region’s development and said the decision to abolish the provision will free Kashmir from “terrorism and separatism”.
The move will also create new jobs and sports opportunities for Kashmir’s youth, Modi said, also pledging to develop the region’s film and herbal medicine industries.
Analysis: ‘Widespread support’ in India for BJP’s Kashmir move
Shruti Kapila, lecturer in history at the Cambridge University in the UK, said there was “widespread popular support” in India for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) decision to scrap disputed Kashmir’s special status.
The move was a key campaign pledge of the BJP, which registered a landslide victory in the general election in April- May, she noted. “This mandate was sought on the back of national security after the Pulwama attack in mid-February,” she said, referring to a suicide attack that killed at least 40 Indian soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir.
“Both in the upper and lower houses of parliament, there was very little in the nature of resistance .. by and large, there has been cross-party consensus, even by smaller regional parties who may feel threatened by such a precedent which strengthens the hands of central powers in India,” she said from New Delhi.
“Secondly, I also think the trigger point is also the moving away of the United States from this region … There is no real international multilateral body to which this can be addressed to,” she added.
Pakistan to ban Indian films over Kashmir tension
Pakistan has said it would ban the screening of Indian films in the country’s cinemas, as tensions between the two countries rise over the contested Kashmir region.
“No Indian cinema will be screened in any Pakistani cinema. Drama, films and Indian content of this kind will be completely banned in Pakistan,” Firdous Ashiq Awan, an adviser to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, said in a tweet.
Pakistan suspends train service to India
Pakistan has said it would suspend a rail service linking it to India, as relations with its arch-rival continue to sour over the contested Kashmir region.
“We have decided to shut down Samjhauta Express,” Minister of Railways Sheikh Rasheed said, referring to the train running to India’s capital New Delhi from the Pakistani city of Lahore.
“As long as I am [the] railways minister, Samjhauta Express can’t operate.”
Kashmir an ‘internal affair’, India tells Pakistan
“The recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely the internal affair of India,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
“Seeking to interfere in that jurisdiction by invoking an alarmist vision of the region will never succeed.”
No phone calls, no groceries: Kashmir on edge under lockdown
The unprecedented security lockdown amid a near-total communications blackout has entered a fourth day in Indian-administered Kashmir, with tens of thousands of forces in riot gear patrolling the region.
Streets lined with shuttered shops were deserted while steel barricades and razor wire cut off neighbourhoods, AP news agency said. Shopping malls, grocery stores and even clinics were closed.
Due to the communication blackout – with landlines, mobile phones and internet all down – people can’t call one another or speak to friends and relatives outside the region.
Activist files petition challenging Kashmir clampdown
An opposition activist has filed a petition in India’s Supreme Court challenging the communications blackout and security clampdown in Indian-administered Kashmir, where people remained holed up in their homes for a fourth day.
The plea also sought “immediate release” of political leaders under custody, including two former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers.
State-run All India Radio said security agencies have arrested more than 500 people in the disputed region apparently to prevent any outbreak of violence.
India’s splitting of Kashmir opposed in border city of Kargil
India’s move to carve out Ladakh from the state of Jammu and Kashmir to make it a “union territory” has been met with protests in Kargil, a Muslim-majority border city in Ladakh that identifies culturally with Kashmir.
Kargil’s religious and political organisations released a statement, condemning the Indian government for acting “without the consent from the people”. The groups called for a shutdown on Tuesday.
Kargil’s Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust, an influential religious group in the region, supported the protest.
Kashmir has a violent past that pre-dates the partition of India and Pakistan. The Kashmir conflict — explained. pic.twitter.com/KxfQKZZBhB
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) February 27, 2019
Wednesday, August 7
US supports direct dialogue between Pakistan, India on Kashmir
The United States on Wednesday said it supports direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on the disputed Kashmir region and called for calm and restraint as the dispute escalated.
“We continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern,” a US State Department spokeswoman said in a statement.
Kashmiris anxious over food, cash shortages
Residents of Indian-administered Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar, have expressed concern over food and currency shortages because of the continuing security lockdown.
Muneer Ahmad, who owns a shop at the Jahangir Chowk, said he was running out of essential goods.
“Whatever old stock we had we sold that and now we are running out of stock like milk, flour, and the way security has been placed on roads,” he said. “This seems to be a long curfew where people will starve.”
Most ATMs in the city were also not working, residents said.
India ‘did not consult US’ over Kashmir move
The US has denied media reports that New Delhi had consulted Washington before revoking Kashmir’s special status.
Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary at the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, said in a Twitter post: “Contrary to press reporting, the Indian government did not consult or inform the US government before moving to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status.”
UK expresses concern to India over Kashmir
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he had expressed concern to his Indian counterpart about the situation in the disputed Kashmir region.
“I have spoken to the Indian foreign minister,” Raab said. “We’ve expressed some of our concerns around the situation and called for calm, but also had a clear readout of the situation from the perspective of the Indian government.”
Pakistan to expel Indian ambassador
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, said Islamabad would expel India’s ambassador Ajay Bisaria.
Moin-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s newly-appointed ambassador to India, had yet to take up his post but will now not move to New Delhi, Qureshi added in televised comments.
Pakistan to downgrade ties with India over Kashmir move
Pakistan said it will “downgrade” diplomatic relations and suspend bilateral trade with India after New Delhi stripped its portion of the contested Kashmir region of special status.
The move follows a meeting of Pakistan’s National Security Committee, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to an official statement posted on Twitter.
1-Downgrading of diplomatic relations with India.
2-Suspension of bilateral trade with India.
3-Review of bilateral arrangements.
4-Matter to be taken to UN, including the Security Council.
5-14th of August to be observed in solidarity with brave
Kashmiris. #StandwithKashmir pic.twitter.com/v06GmMc5lG
— Government of Pakistan (@GovtofPakistan) August 7, 2019
Protesting India’s “unilateral” and “illegal” actions in Kashmir, Islamabad said it would also raise the issue with the United Nations Security Council.
Khan also directed Pakistan’s armed forces to “continue vigilance”.
Protester dies, scores arrested in Kashmir lockdown
A protester died after being chased by police and more than 100 people were arrested during a curfew in Kashmir’s main city after the restive region’s autonomy was scrapped by India, officials told AFP news agency.
Despite a paralysing curfew imposed to head off unrest, sporadic protests have been reported by residents in the main city, Srinagar. A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that in one incident a youth being chased by police “jumped into the Jhelum River and died”.
A source told AFP that at least six people had been admitted to hospital in Srinagar with gunshot wounds and other injuries from protests.
Workers leave Kashmir valley after lockdown
Thousands of workers from north Indian states have left Indian-administered Kashmir over the last three days following an unprecedented lockdown of the Himalayan valley.
Kashmir journalists struggle to tell their stories
Restrictions on movement and a communications blackout for a third day in Indian-administered Kashmir have frustrated the region’s journalists.
Most English and Urdu language newspapers based in the main city of Srinagar have not published their editions since Monday.
“I tried to take some photos and videos, but the deployed forces stopped me. They asked me to shut my camera,” a news reporter told Al Jazeera.
Read more here.
Activists arrested, journalists fear for safety
Many activists were arrested in Indian-administered Kashmir, sources told Al Jazeera from Srinagar.
Journalists already struggling to get information about the disputed region out because of a communications blackout, said they fear for their safety.
One reporter told Al Jazeera on the condition of anonymity that his name was on a list of people who were to be arrested.
Sporadic protests in Srinagar amid lockdown
Knots of young protesters threw stones at soldiers, police and a witness said, amid anger over the telecommunications clampdown that began on Sunday.
Streets in the region’s main city of Srinagar were deserted for a third day, with almost all shops shut, barring some chemists.
Armed federal police manned mobile checkpoints across the city, limiting people’s movement.
“These [protests] are mostly localised because of the heavy troop deployment,” a police officer who sought anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters news agency, adding that police used tear gas and pepper spray to scatter the protesters.
Kashmiris mourn loss of autonomy
Residents of Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir lamented India’s decision to scrap the region’s special status but promised to resist the move.
Al Jazeera spoke with almost a dozen locals who said they feared demographic changes would now be inevitable in the Muslim-majority region.
Ghulam Mohammad Mir, a 42-year-old ambulance driver said: “Our honour has been sacrificed. When I heard about the abrogation of the terms of accession I felt like I have lost a part of my body. Kashmir is not going to remain the same area.”
Read more here.
What are Articles 370 and 35A?
Article 370 was the basis of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to the Indian union at a time when erstwhile princely states had the choice to join either India or Pakistan after their independence from British rule in 1947.
Article 35A was introduced through a presidential order in 1954 to continue the old provisions of the territory regulations under Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
Read our explainer.
UN ‘deeply concerned’ over Kashmir curfew
The UN has expressed concern over the significant security lockdown, telecommunication restrictions and the arbitrary detention of political leaders in Indian-administered Kashmir.
“What we are witnessing now in Indian-administered Kashmir takes what was already a bit of a pattern to a new level,” said UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville at a press briefing in Geneva.
“We are deeply concerned that the latest restrictions will exacerbate the human rights situation in the region,” he added.
Redrawn map will transform Kashmir: Experts
The Indian government’s decision to split the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories will lead to a major transformation of the socioeconomic landscape in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region, according to critics and experts.
“The decision (to split the region) will reduce Kashmir to a colony,” A G Noorani, a constitutional expert, told the Associated Press news agency.
“It will divide Kashmir from the rest of the country and Kashmiris will oppose the Hindu feeling in the region,” he said.
Dibyesh Anand, a social scientist at the University of Westminster, said: “The fear of settler colonialism is not a spectre but a reality, given the approach of both the government and a large number of Indians.”
Tuesday, August 6:
EU urges India, Pakistan to avoid escalation
The European Union said that it was closely monitoring the situation and called for the avoidance of escalation of tensions in the region.
“Our main message here is that it is very important to avoid any escalation of tension in Kashmir and in the region,” Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela, an EU spokesman for foreign affairs, told a news conference.
He noted that the issue has legal and political dimensions.
Turkey seeks to reduce tension
Erdogan’s remarks came at Turkey’s 11th Ambassadors’ Conference in Ankara, where Turkish diplomats and foreign mission officials gather annually to discuss foreign policy.
Erdogan said he had a “fruitful” phone conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and that Ankara would get in touch with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in hopes to reduce tension mounting in the region.
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation expresses concern
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir has expressed “deep concern” over the recent developments.
In a statement at an emergency meeting held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the secretary-general, Yousef bin Ahmed al-Othaimeen, reaffirmed the OIC’s “support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their just struggle to achieve their legitimate rights, in particular the right to self-determination”.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Indian steps which “interfere with the demography of Indian-administered Kashmir and the disputed status are a grave, destabilising threat to the already volatile situation in South Asia and would have serious implications”.
The Contact Group condemned India’s “illegal and unilateral” steps and urged New Delhi to allow access to its Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) and other international rights bodies to Indian-administered Kashmir in order to “independently verify the gross and blatant human rights violations”.
Modi says a ‘new dawn’ awaits Kashmir
Indian Prime Minister Modi described the passage of the legislation as a “momentous occasion” in a parliamentary democracy.
In a series of tweets, Modi said: “I salute my sisters and brothers of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh for their courage and resilience. For years, vested interest groups who believed in emotional blackmail never cared for people’s empowerment. J&K is now free from their shackles. A new dawn, better tomorrow awaits!”
Modi also said his government had fulfilled a long-standing demand of the people of Ladakh, Kashmir’s mostly Buddhist region, to be declared a territory of India’s union.
“Special congratulations to the people of Ladakh!,” Modi tweeted.
“This decision will give impetus to the overall prosperity of the region and ensure better developmental facilities.”
India tells China Kashmir is ‘internal matter’
India warned China that Ladakh’s new designation as a “union territory” is an “internal matter” after Beijing slammed India’s “unilateral” decision.
“India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.
China: India’s move undermines our sovereignty
China expressed serious concern and called for maintaining the status quo in the disputed region.
“[India and Pakistan] should refrain from taking actions that will unilaterally change the status quo and escalate tensions,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
“We call on both India and Pakistan to peacefully resolve the relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation and safeguard peace and stability in the region,” Hua said.
The Kashmir issue “is an issue left from the past between India and Pakistan,” she said. “The relevant sides need to exercise restraint and act prudently.”
Beijing also criticised India’s “unilateral” decision to turn Kashmir’s mostly Buddhist region of Ladakh into an administrative territory directly ruled by New Delhi.
“China is always opposed to India’s inclusion of the Chinese territory in the western sector of the China-India boundary into its administrative jurisdiction,” Hua said.
“Recently India has continued to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty by unilaterally changing its domestic law. Such practice is unacceptable and will not come into force.”
India says China is illegally occupying 38,000sq km of its northwestern territory, while Beijing claims a 90,000sq km chunk of Arunachal Pradesh state in northeast India.
India’s parliament approves resolution revoking Kashmir of its status
India’s parliament approved a resolution revoking Kashmir’s special status and cleared a bill to split the disputed state.
The resolution, backing Monday’s decree to abolish Article 370 of the Indian constitution, was adopted by the lower house of parliament.
The “Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill” that splits the state into two territories directly governed by New Delhi was passed by 370 parliamentarians voting for the legislation, and 70 against.
The two crucial motions have now been ratified by both the houses of parliament – with the upper house approving the measures on Monday.
“Together we are, together we shall rise and together we will fulfill the dreams of 130 crore [1.3 billion] Indians,” Modi tweeted after parliament approved the move.
Khan calls for international intervention
Pakistani Prime Minister Khan said his government would challenge the Indian move to change the constitutional status of Indian-administered Kashmir at the UN Security Council, urging the international community to intervene in the crisis or risk regional destabilisation.
“We will raise this at every level, at the United Nations Security Council,” said Khan, addressing a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament in the capital, Islamabad.
“We are thinking of how we can go to the [International Court of Justice] through the UN Security Council … we will raise this issue at every forum.”
Read more here.
Pakistan army will ‘go to any extent’ to support Kashmir
Pakistan’s army chief said the country’s military will “go to any extent” to support people in the contested region after India’s move,
“Pakistan army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end,” General Qamar Javed Bajwa said following a meeting with top commanders in Rawalpindi.
“We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations in this regard,” he added, without elaborating further.
India’s lower house debates bill to split Kashmir
The lower house of India’s parliament was set to ratify the bill downgrading the governance of the Indian-administered portion of Kashmir.
Members of the Lok Sabha were debating the “Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill” a day after the legislation was introduced alongside the presidential decree revoking Article 370.
The bill downgrades the region from a state into two federally administered union territories: Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh. Jammu and Kashmir would still have its own legislature, while Ladakh would not.
Read more here.
Kashmir on edge as India tightens grip on disputed region
A communications blackout and a security lockdown in Indian-administered Kashmir prompted anger and fear among residents.
Sheikh Mushtaq, 55, said he has lost contact with his daughter who was forced to leave her university in southern Jammu on Monday because of the lockdown. “We are helpless,” he said.
The security measures have also hit businesses hard before the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha.
Read more here.
(Source: Al Jazeera)