Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that stripping the disputed Kashmir region of its statehood and special constitutional provisions has helped unify the country.
Modi spoke Thursday in an Independence Day address from India's Mughal-era Red Fort in New Delhi as an unprecedented security lockdown kept people in Indian-administered Kashmir indoors for an eleventh day.
The lockdown and a near-complete communications blackout affecting about 4 million residents of the Kashmir Valley have been in place since Aug. 4, just before a presidential order to subsume the Muslim-majority region into India's federal government by downgrading it from a state to a union territory. A new law allows anyone to buy land there.
Modi says that Kashmir's former status led to "corruption" and was unjust for women.