Over 500 people detained as Kashmir clampdown challenged - media

 Over 500 people detained as Kashmir clampdown challenged - media

Indian security forces have arrested more 500 people since New Delhi imposed a communications blackout and security clampdown in divided Kashmir, where people remained holed up in their homes for a fourth day.

A petition was filed meanwhile in India’s top court challenging the lockdown.

The rigorous security measures followed India’s government decision this week to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and downgrade the Himalayan region from statehood to a territory. Muslim-majority Kashmir is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan, and rebels have been fighting Indian rule in the portion it administers for decades.

State-run All India Radio said that cross-border firing by Indian and Pakistani troops hit the Rajouri sector of the Indian-controlled Kashmir late Wednesday.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the nation today to discuss Kashmir. 

In response to India’s action, yesterday Pakistan said it would downgrade its diplomatic ties with New Delhi, expel the Indian ambassador and suspend trade. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told Pakistan’s National Security Committee that his government will use all diplomatic channels “to expose the brutal Indian racist regime” and human rights violations in Kashmir, the government’s statement said.

India regretted Pakistan’s steps and said that "the intention behind these measures is obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties," the AP reported.

Describing India’s latest steps in Kashmir as internal affairs, the statement urged Pakistan to review its decision to downgrade ties so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved.′