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India Moves to Divide Jammu and Kashmir

Wednesday 30 October 2019

SRINAGAR (Reuters) — India will formally split up disputed Jammu and Kashmir state into two federal territories on Thursday, aiming to tighten its grip on the restive region that has been in the grip of a harsh security clampdown for nearly three months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government withdrew Kashmir’s autonomy in August but in addition it also announced the division of the state into two territories to be directly ruled from New Delhi — one consisting of Jammu and Kashmir and the other the remote Buddhist enclave of Ladakh.

On Thursday, G. C. Murmu, a former bureaucrat from Modi’s home state of Gujarat, will be sworn in as the first lieutenant governor of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the government said.

Another former civil servant, Radha Krishna Mathur, will take office as the lieutenant governor of Ladakh, the Buddhist-dominated high altitude region that has long sought to disentangle itself from Kashmir, on grounds that the turmoil there had hurt its own growth prospects.

The Modi administration is hoping to ramp up tourism and infrastructure investment in Ladakh, known for its snow-capped peaks and rocky desert plateaus, and is also an area of dispute with China which lays claims to parts of it.

Within the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, there are expectations that the takeover by the federal government will lead to development and shift the focus away from the Kashmir valley, where the insurgency is cantered.


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