India to lift travel advisory on Kashmir two months after crackdown

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – India will lift a travel advisory on the disputed region of Kashmir on Thursday, authorities said, two months after the government launched a security crackdown before removing the state’s special status.

FILE PHOTO: An Indian security force personnel stands guard in front of the closed shops during restrictions following scrapping of the special constitutional status for Kashmir by the Indian government, in Srinagar, September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

Thousands of Indian tourists, pilgrims and workers fled the Muslim-majority state in early August after authorities issued a security alert over possible militant attacks by Pakistan-backed groups, assertions rejected by Islamabad.

Telephone and internet services were suspended and public movements restricted in some areas to prevent protests hours before India announced it had revoked the region’s special status.

Some curbs have since been lifted. Media reported on Monday that members of the main National Conference party were allowed to meet two senior leaders detained in the crackdown.

However, mobile and internet services are largely still blocked in the Kashmir valley.

The travel advisory issued on Aug. 2 will be lifted from Thursday, the government of Jammu and Kashmir said in a statement on Monday.

Kashmir touts itself as a “Paradise on Earth” and known for its mountains, glaciers and Dal Lake, a favorite destination centuries ago for Mughal emperors escaping the summer heat of India’s plains.

However, Britain and other countries still have advisories in place discouraging their citizens from traveling to Jammu and Kashmir, where a grenade attack injured 10 people on the weekend.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and both claim the territory in full. More than 40,000 people have been killed in an insurgency in the Indian part of Kashmir since 1989.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says scrapping state’s special status was necessary to integrate it fully into the rest of India and spur development. Critics say the decision will fuel further alienation and armed resistance.

Additional reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan in New Delhi; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Darren Schuettler

(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2019-10-08 04:46:00
Image credit: source

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