WORLD

Thousands of Kashmiris detained since autonomy stripped by India

Indian paramilitary soldiers prepares to block a road with barbed wires during security lockdown in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. [AP Photo]

Restrictions are continuing in much of Indian-administered , despite 's government saying it's gradually restoring phone lines and easing a security lockdown that's been in place for nearly two weeks. A magistrate [speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity] said at least 4,000 people were arrested and held under the , a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial.

Thousands of people have been detained in Indian Kashmir over fears of unrest since New Delhi stripped the restive region of its autonomy two weeks ago, government sources told AFP.

A magistrate speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity said at least 4,000 people were arrested and held under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial.

"Most of them were flown out of because prisons here have run out of capacity," the magistrate said, adding that he had used a satellite phone allocated to him to collate the figures from colleagues across the Himalayan territory amid a communications blackout imposed by authorities.

RESTRICTIONS CONTINUE IN KASHMIR DESPITE SECURITY EASE
Soldiers on Sunday still manned nearly deserted streets and limited movement of the few pedestrians who came out of their homes in Srinagar, the region's main city.

The security crackdown and a news blackout were installed following an Aug. 5 decision by to downgrade the Muslim-majority region's . Indian authorities started easing restrictions on Saturday.

On Sunday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan demanded that U.N. observers be sent to the region, but Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh dismissed the idea.

Kashmir is divided between and India, but both claim the Himalayan region in its entirety.

INDIA REIMPOSES SOME CURBS ON PHONES IN KASHMIR
Indian authorities reversed a decision to allow internet and mobile phone use in parts of the Jammu region, according to one official, amid concerns about the spread of rumours online.

In the past 24 hours, there has been a series of protests against New Delhi's Aug. 5 revocation of Jammu and Kashmir state's autonomy. This followed an easing in curbs on movement and phone use on Saturday morning.

The state government has said that it has not imposed a curfew over the past two weeks, but on Sunday people were being turned back at multiple roadblocks set up in the city in the past few hours. Security forces at some roadblocks have told residents there is a curfew.

Two senior government officials told Reuters that at least two dozen people were admitted to hospitals with pellet injuries after violent clashes broke out in the old city on Saturday night.

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