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India's government said Tuesday it is easing its lockdown in Kashmir in a "phased manner" after cutting phone and internet access for over a week to prevent protests over its decision to end the Himalayan region's autonomy.

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Utpal Kaul, a Hindu, has dreamt of returning to his lakeside property and peach orchard in Kashmir ever since he fled the Muslim-dominated valley three decades ago in fear of his life.

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 India's government unveiled on Friday a raft of budget sweeteners for farmers, the middle class and also cows, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to shore up support with elections looming. Thousands of farmers hit by low produce prices, crippling debt and volatile weather have killed themselves in recent years, which along with rising joblessness has hit Modi's popularity.

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Survivors called on India's government Monday to ban female genital mutilation, an age-old ritual practiced by a small Muslim sect in the country. Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves removing the clitoris partially or completely, leading to psychological, sexual and physical complications including low libido, infections, infertility and even death.