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India moves to divide occupied Jammu and Kashmir amid harsh security clampdown, protests – World

India formally divided Jammu and Kashmir in two federal territories on Thursday, with the aim of strengthening its control over the restless region that has been under the control of a severe security crackdown for almost three months.

Street protests against the measures have erupted sporadically, while a dozen people have been killed in recent weeks.

The Indian nationalist government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew autonomy from occupied Kashmir in August, but also announced its division into two territories that would be governed directly from New Delhi, one consisting of Jammu and Kashmir and the other in the remote enclave Ladakh Buddhist.

At the same time, he dumped thousands more troops in the Kashmir valley, of a Muslim majority, where the Kashmirs have been fighting against the Indian government for decades, and made arrests to avoid any outbreak of violence.

Editorial: The whole turn in the world cannot change the situation on the ground in occupied Kashmir

The government also imposed severe travel restrictions and cut telephone lines and internet. Some measures have been reduced, but a security lock still applies, and most cashmere do not have access to broadband and mobile Internet.

A Kashmir girl in protest throws stones at Indian police in Srinagar on Tuesday, October 29.

Schools and universities are empty and most shops, restaurants and hotels are closed. Hundreds of people, including the main political leaders and those fighting for the secession of Kashmir from India, remain in custody for fear that they may provoke mass protests that in the past have become violent.

Wajahat Habibullah, a former bureaucrat who served in occupied Kashmir and traveled to the main city of the region last month, said Kashmir felt humiliated for losing her status.

"Whatever the attitude of [federal] Governments in the past, at least they felt they had something of their own. Now, there is a kind of feeling of losing the freedom they had, "he said.

On Tuesday, Indian officials said five construction workers who had come to work from eastern India were shot dead, adding that the killings appeared to be part of a campaign to deter foreigners from working in occupied Kashmir.

Crowds have also gathered this week in the streets of Srinagar, the largest city in occupied Kashmir, and elsewhere, throwing stones at security forces protesting continued repression.

Read: Clashes erupt when EU right-wing lawmakers visit occupied Kashmir

New territories

On Thursday, G.C. Murmu, a former bureaucrat from Modi's home state, Gujarat, will swear as the first lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir's union territory, the government said.

Another former official, Radha Krishna Mathur, will assume the position of lieutenant governor of Ladakh, the high-altitude region dominated by Buddhists who has always tried to unravel from Kashmir, on the grounds that the turmoil there had impaired his own growth prospects .

The Modi administration hopes to increase investment in tourism and infrastructure in Ladakh, known for its snow-capped peaks and rocky desert plateaus, and is also an area of ​​dispute with China that claims parts of it.

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1513800/india-moves-to-divide-occupied-jammu-and-kashmir-amid-harsh-security-clampdown-protests

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