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U.S. Concerned By Events In Kashmir, UN Calls For Restraint

Security personnel patrol a street in Jammu on August 6.
Security personnel patrol a street in Jammu on August 6.

WASHINGTON -- The United States says it is closely following events in Kashmir after India revoked the Muslim-majority region’s special autonomy, sparking fears of fresh violence in the Indian-administered part of the Himalayan region.

"We are concerned about reports of detentions and urge respect for individual rights and discussion with those in affected communities," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on August 5.

Ortagus called on “all parties to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control" (LoC) that serves as a de facto border between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres 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 LoC.

Earlier in the day, India's government moved to revoke Article 370 of the constitution, which guarantees significant autonomy for the Indian side of Kashmir.

Article 370 also forbids Indians from outside the 12-million state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs, and securing education scholarships.

India’s decision was accompanied by a telecoms blackout in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir state, restrictions on public movement, and the deployment of thousands of troops.

The move deepens the long-running animosity with nuclear rival Pakistan.

Pakistan condemned India's move as illegal, saying it would "exercise all possible options" to counter it.

"India is playing a dangerous game which will have serious consequences for regional peace and stability," said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

There is a long-running insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan.

Two of the three wars India and Pakistan have fought since their independence from British rule were over Kashmir.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947. There are roughly 38,000 refugees from Indian-held Kashmir in camps on the Pakistani side, authorities say.

With reporting by AP, BBC, Dawn, and Reuters
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