Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Internet and communications remained down amid an ongoing lockdown in Kashmir Tuesday, a day after the Indian government said it would end the special autonomous status it's had for decades.
Jammu and Kashmir leaders Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were arrested Monday night despite warnings from opposition leader Rahul Gandhi that the move will allow militants to fill a leadership vacuum.
India Home Minister Amit Shah introduced a bill turning Jammu and Kashmir into a "union territory," allowing them to be governed by the Hindu-led Indian government. Jammu and Kashmir had operated autonomously for most of the time India had been an independent country. The lower house of parliament is set to ratify the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill on Tuesday.
Shah said Article 370, the part of the Indian Constitution that allowed the regions to operate with a certain amount of independence, has been a "root cause of terrorism." The Kashmir region is divided between India and Pakistan.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the Indian government to end the Internet blackout in Kashmir.
"A large-scale communication disruption at such a crucial time for Kashmir is an egregious violation of citizens' rights to information from a free press," group researcher Aliya Iftikhar said.
"We call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his administration to guarantee that all communication blocks in Kashmir are lifted and that journalists are able to report freely. Communication blocks have no place in a democracy."
Amnesty International said the Indian government's actions in Kashmir amount to human rights violations.
"The unilateral decision by Government of India to revoke Jammu & Kashmir's special status without consulting J&K stakeholders, amidst a clampdown on civil liberties & communications blackout is likely to increase the risk of further human rights violations & inflame tensions," the advocacy group tweeted.