MORE than 500 people have been arrested since India imposed a security clampdown and communications blackout in Kashmir, this week, it has emerged.
The news came as Pakistan yesterday suspended the Friendship Express train service from Lahore to India to stop people travelling across the border.
The blocking of phone lines, internet and news channels has turned Kashmir ‘into the world’s biggest jail’, said an Islamabad foreign ministry spokesman.
Mohammad Faisal accused India of ‘taking such actions in a panic’, adding: ‘They have touched something they don’t know how to get out of.’
Pakistan said it would seek political and legal options — not military action — to challenge India’s changes to downgrade Kashmir from a state to a territory.
But amid rising tensions, cross-border firing was reported in the Rajouri sector of the Indian-controlled Jammu region of Kashmir late on Wednesday.
Since India scrapped Kashmir’s special status, activist Ali Mohammed said he has had to organise ambulances to take sick people to hospitals in Srinagar, the main city in India’s portion of the region, as residents cannot use phones to ask for medical help.
Indian premier Narendra Modi said in an address to the nation last night he stripped Kashmir of its statehood to free the region of ‘terrorism and separatism’.
He assured residents that the situation would soon ‘return to normal gradually’.
His political opponent, Tehseen Poonawalla, has petitioned the supreme court to lift restrictions in Kashmir and release leaders, including Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, from jail.