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Kashmir Remains Under Indefinite Security Clampdown Amid Growing Tension


Security personnel stand guard on a street in Jammu on August 5.

The Indian-administered portion of Muslim-majority Kashmir remains under an indefinite security lockdown after lawmakers on August 6 stripped statehood from the Himalayan region and the government revoked its special autonomy.

Cell phone and Internet services are also mostly shutdown in Kashmir, leaving it cut off from most of the world.

Archrival Pakistan warned that both moves by India’s Hindu nationalist-led government to diminish the volatile region's status could lead to war.

The August 5 revocation means that India's Jammu and Kashmir will be largely run by the central government as territorial autonomy has effectively vanished. Both states will become a union territory as will the third state of Ladakh.

The Indian national flag will replace the flags of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to use "every forum" to force New Delhi reverse its decisions.

Addressing a joint-session of parliament on August 6, Khan pledged to raise the matter with heads of state and take the issue to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court.

Earlier, Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Bajwa, said the military would "go to any extent" to support the people of Kashmir in their "just struggle."

There is a long-running insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir, which is divided between the two neighbors.

India and Pakistan claim the region in its entirety, but rule it in part.

The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two of the three wars since their 1947 independence from British rule over Kashmir.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged all parties to "exercise restraint," his spokesman said.

The spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters that over the past few days the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan "has observed and reported an increase in military activity” along the highly militarized Line of Control (LoC).

The LoC separates the Pakistan-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

More than half a million Indian soldiers are stationed in Kashmir and there are near-daily demonstrations against Indian control.

With reporting by AFP, Al Jazeera, Reuters, and AP
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