The Stream

How will the loss of Kashmir’s semi-autonomy affect its identity?

Indian government takes direct control of region three months after revoking seven decades of special status guaranteed by the constitution.

Indian security forces are maintaining a tough presence on the streets of cities and towns across Jammu and Kashmir, following the government’s formal revocation of the region’s special status.

On October 31 the government in New Delhi began exerting direct control over Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir after splitting it into two new Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. It came nearly three months after the Indian government first announced it would revoke Article 370 of the country’s constitution, which had granted a degree of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir since it became a part of India during Partition in 1947.

The Indian government says having Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh under central control will help boost investment to the region and spur a bright economic future for those living there. But millions of Kashmiris feel that the identity of the region is being erased. The number of Indian security forces deployed to the region has ballooned – about 38,000 troops were sent there just before Article 370 was struck out in August. Hundreds of Kashmiri political activists and local leaders have been arrested over the last few months while civilians have faced severe restrictions on their movements. A blackout of internet and some cell services is still in effect and media reports from the region are tightly monitored. Many warn that direct control will fuel a new wave of deadly attacks by pro-Kashmir armed groups.

What does the future hold for those in Kashmir now that it is under central control? Join the conversation.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with: 

Dr. Nitasha Kaul, @NitashaKaul
Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster

Ajai Shukla, @ajaishukla
Writer, Business Standard

Shazia Ilmi, @shaziailmi
BJP Spokesperson

Read more:
Why Europe’s far right supports India on the Kashmir issue – Al Jazeera
Anxious and Cooped Up, 1.5 Million Kashmiri Children Are Still Out of School – The New York Times

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