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8,000 More Troops Being Sent To Kashmir After Article 370 Scrapped

At least 8,000 paramilitary troops have been airlifted to Jammu and Kashmir from different parts of the country today after the centre announced it would scrap Article 370 from the state, which confers special status.

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C-17 transport planes of the Indian Air Force are bringing the troops to Srinagar, sources said. They are in addition to the 35,000 troops that were brought into the state over the past week.

The Army and the Air Force have been put on high alert, news agency ANI reported.

The heavy deployment of troops is to strengthen security across the state as the issue of special status is an emotive one, sources said. Thousands of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists are already on their way home after the pilgrimage was abruptly cancelled by the government last week.

Article 370 gives Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters barring defence, communications and foreign affairs. The removal of this part of the constitution ends special status for Kashmir, which was key to its accession to India in 1947.

The government has also said it wants parliament to clear a proposal that bifurcates the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories which are effectively semi-states. Jammu and Kashmir would be one union territory with its own legislature, like Delhi; Ladakh would be the other but without its own assembly.

The government maintains that the massive troop build-up was in response to a high level of terror threat in the state.

Intelligence sources said terrorists have made multiple attempts over three days – from July 29 to July 31 to cross the Line of Control and around four to five of them have succeeded. The plan was to carry out a terror strike on Amarnath pilgrims, similar to the February attack in Pulwama and four to five of them managed to infiltrate into India, sources said.

Sources also said under the circumstances, it was untenable to allow the pilgrims to continue.

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