Modi to meet Kashmir leaders 1st time after altering region

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SRINAGAR, India (AP) — India’s prime minister is scheduled to hold a crucial meeting with pro-India politicians from disputed Kashmir for the first time since New Delhi stripped the region’s semi-autonomy while jailing many of them in a crackdown. Experts say the meeting is meant to ward off mounting criticism at home and abroad after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government in August 2019 downgraded the region’s status, split it into two federal territories and removed inherited protections on land and jobs for the local population. Since then, Indian authorities have imposed a slew of administrative changes that triggered resentment and anger. The meeting in New Delhi on Thursday is likely to be attended by the region’s 14 political leaders including Modi’s own party members.

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