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India Says Kashmir Lockdown Easing As Pakistan Calls For Urgent UN Meeting

Indian policemen on patrol during restrictions in Srinagar on August 8.
Indian policemen on patrol during restrictions in Srinagar on August 8.

Pakistan on August 13 called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council following India's decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy, which Islamabad says threatens international peace and could lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide in the Muslim-majority region.

India’s Hindu nationalist-led government on August 5 announced it was revoking Indian Kashmir’s special constitutional status and downgrading its statehood.

India said on August 13 that is easing its lockdown in the Himalayan region in a "phased manner" after cutting off mobile, landline, and Internet networks, as well as enforcing a curfew nine days ago.

In an address to the nation on August 8, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the move would allow New Delhi to rid the region of “terrorism and separatism.”

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a letter to the Council, denounced "recent aggressive actions" by India's Hindu nationalist-led government, saying they "willfully undermine the internationally recognized disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir."

Kashmir is claimed by both India and Pakistan and divided between them. Rebels have been fighting Indian rule for decades and most Kashmiri residents want independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Qureshi also accused India of implementing a "racist ideology" aimed at turning Kashmir from a Muslim-majority into a Hindu-majority territory.

Before Kashmir's semiautonomous status was scrapped, Indians couldn’t settle or buy property in the region.

Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz of Poland, which holds the Council presidency this month, said members would discuss the letter.

He said "strained relations between India and Pakistan negatively affect the whole South Asia region."

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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