Pakistan's PM Imran Khan accuses India of being an "oppressor and aggressor" after New Delhi placed the disputed region under the strictest lockdown for the anniversary, with a heavy deployment of troops and barricades of barbed wire.

An Indian Central Reserve Police Force during a lockdown on the first anniversary of the revocation of Kashmir's autonomy in Srinagar on August 5, 2020.
An Indian Central Reserve Police Force during a lockdown on the first anniversary of the revocation of Kashmir's autonomy in Srinagar on August 5, 2020. (Reuters)

Gunmen have attacked Indian forces with a grenade and gunfire in Kashmir which is under strict curfew on the first anniversary of New Delhi scrapping the disputed region's autonomy.

Indian authorities have blanketed Kashmir with troops, who laid out barbed wire and set up roadblocks to prevent demonstrations a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government stripped India's only Muslim-majority state of its special rights. 

There were no immediate reports of casualties, police said on Wednesday.

In neighbouring Pakistan, which also claims Kashmir in its entirety, rallies have been held to mark the anniversary dubbed as the #BlackDay by Kashmiris. 

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Kashmir under siege

Shops and businesses remained shut and police and soldiers stopped residents at checkpoints, only letting an occasional vehicle or pedestrian pass.

Several residents said government forces stopped them at checkpoints, saying the curfew was still in place.

“You call it a curfew or virus lockdown, the fact is that we’re under a brutal siege and this siege is a year old now,” said Ishfaq Ahmed, a Srinagar resident.

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Supporters of Pakistan's governing Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party shout slogans during a train march in Karachi to show their solidarity with people of India-administered Kashmir, in Karachi on August 5, 2020.
Supporters of Pakistan's governing Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party shout slogans during a train march in Karachi to show their solidarity with people of India-administered Kashmir, in Karachi on August 5, 2020. (AFP)

Revoking Article 370

On August 5, 2019, the Modi government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood, scrapped its separate constitution and removed inherited protections on land and jobs.

The region was also split into two federal territories – Ladakh and Jammu-Kashmir. 

Following the move, Indian authorities enforced an information blackout and a security clampdown in Kashmir for months. Thousands of Kashmiri youths and pro-independence leaders, as well as pro-India Kashmiri politicians, were arrested. Hundreds are still incarcerated.

The government said the change was necessary to develop the strife-torn region and integrate it with the rest of India but it infuriated most Kashmiris and neighbouring Pakistan.

Some critics saw it as part of a pattern by the Hindu-nationalist government aimed at sidelining Muslims. The government denies that.

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Imran Khan slams 'oppressor' India on Kashmir anniversary

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called India an "oppressor and aggressor" on the anniversary.

Protests took place across Pakistan to mark the anniversary.

"India stands exposed before the world, yet again, as an oppressor and aggressor," Khan said in a statement.

"Its so-called secular and democratic credentials stand fully discredited," he added, calling India's action last year a "crime against humanity".

Khan accused India of trying to turn Kashmir's Muslim majority into a minority by ending restrictions on outsiders buying up property "in blatant violation of ... UN Security Council Resolutions and international laws".

On Tuesday, Pakistan released a new official map showing all of Kashmir as its territory under illegal occupation of India.

The Pakistan military, meanwhile, said Indian troops had fired a shell across the de-facto border, killing a young woman and wounding six other people.

Such exchanges are common along the Kashmir demarcation line, with shells blasted in both directions.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies