India’s government has revoked disputed Kashmir’s special status with a presidential order as thousands of newly deployed troops arrived and internet and phone services were cut in the restive Himalayan region where most people oppose Indian rule. Home Minister Amit Shah announced the revocation amid an uproar in India’s Parliament and while Kashmir was under a security lockdown that kept thousands of people inside their homes.
The order revokes Article 370 of India’s Constitution, which gives the state of Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters except for defense, communications and foreign affairs. The article also forbids Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing educational scholarships. Critics of India’s Hindu nationalist-led government see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers. Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim the region in its entirety. Two of the three wars India and Pakistan have fought since their independence from British rule were over Kashmir.