India announced it is revoking Kashmir’s special status as tensions with Pakistan over the disputed region have been rising over recent days. The move, which is expected to be challenged in court, means Hindu Indians from outside Kashmir could start buying land and settling in the region, among other actions that will shift the demographic makeup of the Indian-administered, Muslim-majority state. Critics and many Kashmiris say this would threaten the state’s autonomy, further consolidating it into Indian rule. India’s governing BJ Party promised during election campaigning this year that it would rescind Kashmir’s special status. India’s home minister also said it would split the state into two federally ruled territories. India has sent 10,000 additional troops to the region over the past week and shut down schools, evacuated tourists and cut off internet access. Kashmir leaders have also been placed under house arrest.
In February, tensions between India and Pakistan ratcheted up over the region. India carried out airstrikes inside Pakistan following an attack against Indian soldiers in Kashmir by a militant separatist group based in Pakistan. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, who recently met with Trump at the White House, tweeted, “President Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir. This is the time to do so as situation deteriorates there. This has the potential to blow up into a regional crisis.”