Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai on Thursday expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, following New Delhi’s decision withdrawing special status granted to the region.
“Today I am worried about the safety of the Kashmiri children and women, the most vulnerable to violence and the most likely to suffer losses in conflict,” the youngest Nobel Prize winner said in a tweet.
The children’s education rights activist said: “The people of Kashmir have lived in conflict since I was a child, since my mother and father were children, since my grandparents were young. For seven decades, the children of Kashmir have grown up amidst violence.”
Malala jointly won 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with India’s Kailash Satyarthi for their cause and struggle, demanding the right to education for all children.
“I hope all south Asians, the international community and concerned authorities respond to their [Kashmiris’] suffering,” she added.
India’s controversial move has not only invited a barrage of criticism globally but has also fueled tensions in the region.
Pakistan on Wednesday downgraded diplomatic relations and suspended bilateral trade with India.
Islamabad has also asked New Delhi to withdraw its High Commissioner immediately, signaling further escalation in already frosty ties between the two nuclear neighbors.
Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special provisions, to enact its own laws. The provision also protected its citizenship law that disallowed outsiders to settle and own land in the territory to protect the demographic character of the region.
The Himalayan region is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.