The Indian government on Monday scrapped the constitutional provision that granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir amid a security clampdown in the Himalayan region.
Home Minister Amit Shah introduced a resolution in parliament, abrogating Article 370 of the constitution giving autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir.
The notification signed by President Ram Nath Kovind bifurcated the state into two federally-administered territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Ladakh will not have a legislature but Jammu and Kashmir will be given an assembly, albeit with drastically curtailed power compared to what the state enjoyed under its historic special status.
The region, including its major urban centres Srinagar and Jammu, has been under an increased security clampdown since Sunday in view of the turmoil the government's decision is likely to cause.
Top regional leaders, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were under house arrest, a curfew-like security situation prevailed, and most communication services were cut.
The special constitutional status had barred outsiders from buying property in Jammu and Kashmir and taking up state jobs.
Mehbooba said by removing it the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government wants to change the Muslim-majority state's demography.
"It will have catastrophic consequences for the subcontinent," she warned in a tweet.
A meeting of Kashmiri political leaders held at former chief minister Farooq Abdullah's residence in Srinagar on Sunday resolved to oppose any infringement of the existing constitutional guarantees.
The region, divided since South Asia's partition in 1947, is held in parts by Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.