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First woman leader takes charge in Indian Kashmir

Mehbooba Mufti was sworn in as Indian-administered Kashmir's first female chief minister, taking over from her father. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had died nearly three months ago while in office.

Mehbooba Mufti took her oath of office after her Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) and India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to end a three-month coalition deadlock over forming the state government.



Mufti's father and PDP founder Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had died in January, which resulted in a power vacuum in the Himalayan state as Mehbooba Mufti showed considerable reluctance to continue to work with her Hindu nationalist BJP coalition partners.

Mufti reached an agreement at a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February, however. The terms of that deal remain unknown. She is the first woman to serve as chief minister in the deeply conservative state of Jammu and Kashmir. She will have BJP politician Nirmal Singh as her deputy.



Democracy in one of the most disputed regions in the world

The Peoples' Democratic Party's uneasy coalition government with the BJP came about after no single party won the majority needed to form a government in 2014 state elections.

Mufti Mohammed Sayeed

PDP founder Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had died in January 2016 while still in office

The PDP emerged as the single-largest party with 28 seats in the region's 87-seat legislature, while the BJP won 25 seats - all in Hindu-dominated districts of the Muslim majority state, site of a

sometimes violent border dispute

with neighboring Pakistan since 1989.

More than 68,000 people have been killed in uprisings and the subsequent Indian military crackdown. Most recently, several people died in a

standoff between Indian security forces and rebels

in February this year.

ss/msh (AP, AFP)

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