The Latest: China concerned with rising tension over Kashmir
NEW DELHI (AP) — The Latest on Indian-controlled Kashmir (all times local):
China says it is “seriously concerned” about the developing situation in Kashmir, which Indian lawmakers have voted to split into two central government-controlled territories.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying says India and Pakistan, which both claim the Himalayan region in its entirety, should practice restraint and avoid taking unilateral action to “change the status quo and escalate tensions.”
Hua’s comments were issued on China’s foreign ministry website.
India’s lower house of Parliament ratified a bill presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government to revoke a longstanding constitutional provision that made Kashmir exempt from some Indian laws and gave its residents hereditary rights to land, educational scholarships and public sector jobs within the region.
An indefinite security clampdown continued in the Kashmir Valley, where about 7 million people were blocked from cellphone, internet and landline networks.
Pakistan’s prime minister has asked the world community to take notice of Indian moves to change the status of disputed Kashmir, saying Islamabad and New Delhi could go to war if India repeats a military strike inside his country.
Imran Khan says he fears that Kashmiri people, angered over India’s decision to strip the region of its special status, could launch an attack on Indian security forces and that New Delhi could blame Pakistan for it. Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan and is claimed by both.
Khan made his remarks Tuesday in a speech to parliament.
In February, a bomb attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed 40 Indian troops. India responded with an airstrike inside Pakistan, blaming a Pakistani group for the attack.
Pakistan retaliated and said it shot down two Indian air force planes.
India’s lower house of Parliament was set to ratify a bill Tuesday downgrading the governance of the Indian-administered portion of Muslim-majority Kashmir, as an indefinite security lockdown continued in the disputed Himalayan region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government submitted the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill for a vote by the Lok Sahba a day after the measure was introduced alongside a presidential order dissolving a constitutional provision that gave Kashmiris exclusive hereditary rights and a separate constitution.
The situation in Kashmir was unclear after the government shut off most communication with it, including internet, cellphone and landline networks. Thousands of troops were deployed to the restive region amid fears the government’s steps could spark unrest.