The Latest: India’s Modi bars opposition from Kashmir visit
NEW DELHI (AP) — The Latest on Kashmir (all times local):
India’s government has barred several opposition leaders from visiting the Kashmir region to assess the situation created by a massive security crackdown in the Indian-administered part of the disputed territory that started early this month.
Authorities sent the opposition leaders back to New Delhi on Saturday after they waited for several hours at the airport in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where they landed on Saturday. Vineet Punia, an official with the opposition Congress party, says the opposition leaders have returned to New Delhi.
The opposition leaders, representing nine political parties, flew to Srinagar from New Delhi nearly three weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government revoked Muslim-majority Kashmir’s decades-old special status guaranteed under India’s constitution and sent thousands of troops to the region.
Pakistani police have stopped hundreds of journalists from symbolically trying to cross the highly militarized border into Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The journalists’ leader, Zafeer Baba, said Saturday’s protest was an attempt to report on the situation in Kashmir. India has imposed a sweeping media clampdown there since Aug. 5, when it downgraded the autonomy of the portion of Kashmir under its control.
The region has since been under a harsh military curfew, with thousands detained and all communication and the internet cut. Authorities started easing restrictions last Saturday.
Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India and is claimed by both in its entirety.
Pakistani police officer Arshad Naqvi said the journalists’ vehicles were stopped around seven kilometers (four miles) from the Line of Control, which divides the Himalayan region.