Kashmir communications partially restored – India


A Kashmiri Muslim talks on a landline phone in Srinagar on 17 August 2019Image copyright

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A Kashmiri Muslim talks on a landline phone in Srinagar on Saturday

Landline telephone services are being restored to parts of Indian-administered Kashmir, India says.

Seventeen out of 100 phone exchanges in the Kashmir Valley are operational, officials say. Internet and mobile phone services remain suspended.

Most of the area has been in lockdown since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to strip the region of its special status earlier this month.

Hundreds of people, including local politicians, remain in detention.

The Indian government says that restrictions are being lifted from 35 police stations across the Kashmir Valley, while schools are due to reopen from Monday, along with government offices.

Most of the telephone exchanges in the valley should be functional by Sunday evening, officials said.

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Media captionTwo wars, a 60-year dispute – a history of the Kashmir conflict

In Jammu, landlines services are functioning normally, and mobile services have also been restored in five districts there, officials added.

Telephone and internet links had been cut and curfew-like restrictions that ban people from assembling in crowds imposed just before Delhi scrapped Article 370 of its constitution, which guaranteed the Muslim-majority territory its autonomy, on 5 August.

The communications blackout in the region has made reporting from India-administered Kashmir difficult.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council discussed Kashmir for the first time in about five decades.

At the meeting, which was held behind closed doors in New York at the request of Pakistan and China, India criticised international interference in what it says are its internal affairs.

“We don’t need international busybodies to try to tell us how to run our lives. We are a billion-plus people,” India’s envoy Syed Akbaruddi said.

Pakistan’s ambassador welcomed the holding of the meeting as evidence that the region’s dispute was “internationally recognised”.

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A Kashmiri woman shows her hands bearing messages at a protest after Friday prayers in Srinagar

The disputed territory has been the site of decades of sporadic conflict after its two separate states came into existence as a result of the partition of British India in 1947.

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