As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed his country over why special provisions to Jammu and Kashmir were removed, residents of the disputed territory remained out of touch from the world outside.
A lockdown on India's only Muslim-majority state has entered it fifth day after the government revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir and split the state in two on Monday.
The special provisions, under which the state agreed to become part of the Indian union in 1947, allowed it to enact its own laws and prevented outsiders to settle and own land in the territory.
Kashmiri leaders and citizens fear this step is an attempt by the Indian government to change demography of the Muslim-majority state, where some groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
As the crackdown in Kashmir intensifies, some 300 people were arrested by the Indian police, while some Kashmiri prisoners have been airlifted to India’s Uttar Pradesh province, Indian broadcaster NDTV reported.
Reports of sporadic protests have also been coming in, however, Anadolu Agency could not reach its correspondent in the region to confirm the reports as Internet, cell phones and landline phones have been blocked. In some parts, cable television has also been cut off.
Kashmiris living outside Kashmir and in other parts of the world told Anadolu Agency they were unable to reach their families by phone or Internet.
Earlier on Thursday, Modi promised that the new status of Kashmir will bring employment and boost tourism in the region.
This came as several thousand additional troops were deployed in the region to quell possible protests.
Security for Eid, Friday prayers
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, who was handpicked by the Modi government and whose status is set to be downgraded to lieutenant governor under the new arrangement, took control of security situation in the state on Thursday, news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
He also reviewed arrangements for Friday prayers and the Muslim holiday of Eid-ul-Adha in the coming week.
Kashmiri newspapers have not been published since Monday due to lockdown.
Also, the official state flag will soon be permanently removed after the special status was abrogated, PTI reported.
In a related development, Pakistan has reacted strongly to what it calls India's unilateral move by suspending bilateral trade with India, expelling the Indian high commissioner and downgrading its diplomatic status.
Jammu and Kashmir, a Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.