India plans to end Kashmir's autonomous status

India proposed to remove Kashmir's special autonomous status from its constitution on Monday.

Home Minister Amit Shah announced that India would like to abolish the conferal of autonomy for the Indian-controlled region, telling parliament Article 370 would be revoked.

"The entire constitution will be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir state," Shah said, ending the state's rights to make its own laws.

What is Article 370?

The Article is a special provision in the Indian constitution that provides special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Its revocation would lead to Indians outside of the state gaining the legal right to own property there.

But critics say such changes would lead to demographic transformation and have accused the Hindu nationalist-led government of wanting to establish a Hindu majority in the Muslim majority region.

Tensions and clampdowns

Earlier on Monday, Kashmir was in a major security lockdown as Indian government forces were deployed to lay steel barricades, place razor wires on roads, and cut off intersections in Srinagar, the region's principle city. Internet services were also suspended as a way of disrupting any potential protests.

A number of state leaders were placed under house arrest as tensions were raised over the weekend in the region due to Indian officials issuing an alert over possible militant attacks by Pakistan-based groups.

India's government on Friday asked tourists and Hindu pilgrims visiting a shrine in India-administered Kashmir to "curtail their stay" and return home as soon as possible amid concern over security threats.

Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister of the state, urged people to stay calm.

Mehbooba Mufti, another ex-chief minister and a former ally of Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, said it was "ironic that elected representatives like us who fought for peace are under house arrest."

"To place two former Chief Ministers under house arrest is unprecedented and unacceptable. Would it happen in any other state of India? Is this how we build trust among the Kashmiris?" Indian historian and commentator Ramachandra Guha said on Twitter.

Rebels in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir have been fighting for three decades. The majority of Kashmiris support the rebels' demand that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or become independent, while also participating in protests against Indian control. Approximately 70,000 people have been killed since 1989 as part of the uprisings.

jsi, ls/aw (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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