India Kashmir

An Indian paramilitary soldier guards during security lockdown in Jammu, India, Tuesday.

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NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that strips statehood from the Indian-administered portion of Muslim-majority Kashmir, which remains under an indefinite security lockdown, actions that archrival Pakistan warned could lead to war.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government submitted the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill for a vote by the lower house of Parliament a day after the surprise measure was introduced alongside a presidential order. That order dissolved a constitutional provision, known as Article 370, which gave Kashmiris exclusive hereditary rights and a separate constitution.

Kashmir is claimed by both India and Pakistan and divided between them. Two of the three wars the nuclear-armed neighbors have fought since their independence from British rule were over Kashmir.

How the 7 million people in the Kashmir Valley were reacting was unclear, because the Indian government shut off most communication with it, including internet, cellphone and landline networks. Thousands of additional troops were deployed to the already heavily militarized region out of fear the government’s steps could spark unrest. Kashmir is India’s only Muslim-majority state and most people there oppose Indian rule.

Indian TV news channels in Srinagar, the main city in India’s portion of Kashmir, showed security personnel including armed soldiers in camouflage standing near barbed wire barricades in the otherwise empty streets.

Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said Srinagar was “totally peaceful,” the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Hundreds of people around Pakistan and the portion of Kashmir it controls rallied against Modi, burning him in effigy and torching Indian flags to condemn India’s moves.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an address to Parliament on Tuesday night that he feared the Kashmiri people could attack Indian security forces out of anger and New Delhi could blame Pakistan for it.

“If India attacks us, we will respond,” Khan said. “We will fight until the last drop of blood.”

It was unclear when the security measures would be eased in Kashmir, but an outpouring of condemnation by Kashmiris living outside the region or who were able to access the internet despite the government blocks suggest the population will resist the New Delhi government’s actions.

Ordinary Kashmiris have feared the measures would be a prelude to intensifying an ongoing crackdown against anti-India dissenters. Rebels have been fighting Indian control for decades, and most Kashmiris support the rebels’ demand that all of Kashmir be united under Pakistani rule or become independent.

Security lockdowns, general strikes and civilian street demonstrations against Indian control are routine. About 70,000 people have been killed in the rebel uprising and the ensuing Indian crackdown.

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