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Indian separatist group to hold shutdown strike in Jammu and Kashmir

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Indian separatist group to hold shutdown strike in Jammu and Kashmir

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Photo: Roshan Mughal/ AP

A strike organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) is set to take place today in honour of one of its members who was executed by the Indian government in 2013.

The Kashmiri nationalist group has organised similar demonstrations within both Indian and Pakistani-administered regions of Jammu and Kashmir in the past, leading to regular disruptions to businesses. Today’s protests come as 4G internet returns to the contested territory, following the Indian government’s gradual restoration of internet connectivity in Kashmir last year. New Delhi had abruptly severed access to the internet in August 2019 in response to uprisings protesting India’s revocation of the region’s semi-autonomy and subsequent division into two federally-administered territories.

Expect commercial and transport disruptions in the short-term as JKLF activists stoke a revival of separatist fervour with today’s strike. Long-term, continued unrest may lead to increased fear of India’s demographic manipulation in the country’s only Muslim-majority region. India’s rivalry with Pakistan will likely also contribute to New Delhi’s anxiety, as the region’s inhabitants find greater affinity with Islamabad’s religious commonality. Nevertheless, India will not give an inch, as Kashmir’s irreplaceable water sources are used to irrigate crops to feed India’s 1.36 billion people.

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