By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is concerned about restrictions in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir, his spokesman said Thursday.
Stephane Dujarric said the UN chief "calls on all parties to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir," stressing that the UN's position on the region is governed by its charter and successive Security Council resolutions.
"The Secretary-General has been following the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with concern and makes an appeal for maximum restraint," Dujarric said in a statement.
Led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government in a shocking move Aug. 5 scrapped Article 370, which granted the region significant levels of autonomy.
The Security Council has passed several resolutions which call for the Muslim-majority region's right to self-determination to decide its political future. Kashmir has been disputed by India, Pakistan and China since 1947.
Jammu and Kashmir, a Himalayan region that is part of the wider Kashmir region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
Pakistan on Thursday suspended some train service to India amid escalating tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, after New Delhi scrapped Jammu and Kashmir's special status.
The move came a day after Islamabad announced a downgrade in its diplomatic ties with New Delhi, and expelled a top Indian envoy.
Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special provisions to enact its own laws under Article 370. 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.
By revoking this law on Monday, the Indian government spurred fears in the Muslim-majority region that its demography would be altered.