Shops and offices were shut in Kashmir on Thursday and the streets largely deserted as the authorities formally revoked the restive state's constitutional autonomy and split it into two government territories.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision in August to change Kashmir's status and tighten its grip over a region also claimed by Pakistan has stoked anger and resentment while three-decade armed revolt rages.
Just after midnight on Wednesday, the government's orders went into effect, dividing up the old state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories - one Jammu and Kashmir, and the other the Buddhist-dominated high altitude region of Ladakh.
Both will be directly ruled by Delhi, and the Girish Chandra Murmu was sworn in as first the lieutenant governor at a high-security governor's premises today.
"The unfulfilled dream of integrating Jammu and Kashmir has been accomplished," said Home Minister Amit Shah, who is leading the political strategy to deal with Kashmir.
India is hoping that by opening up property rights in Kashmir to people from outside the region it can reignite economic growth, create jobs and turn the focus away from the militancy in which more than 40,000 people have died.
It blames Pakistan for keeping the revolt alive, allegations that the nuclear-armed neighbour denies.
On Thursday, there was little traffic on the streets of Srinagar, the main city, except for children going to school to complete hastily arranged exams. Many children have been kept out of school since the August clampdown.
Shops were shut as a mark of opposition against Kashmir's new status.
Authorities deployed additional paramilitary forces in parts of Srinagar where small protests have erupted in the past since the August 5 announcement of the change of status.
Still, there were 20 small incidents of stone-pelting reported from Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir valley on Wednesday, a state police official said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, one of scores of politicians in detention to prevent large protests from breaking out, said the federal government must engage with Kashmiris before they become even more alienated.
"GOI (government of India) has left Kashmiris in the lurch & shown disregard for their rights. But if you consider them as your own, reach out & engage with them before it's too late," she said in a Twitter post which is being handled by her daughter Iltija.
Why Is It Important?
The Kashmir valley region of the state is one of the world's most militarised regions, where militants have waged a decades-long war against Indian rule, killing tens of thousands of people.
It has long been one of the world's most dangerous flashpoint. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan both claim Kashmir in full but rule in part, and have fought two of their three wars over the region.
In February, the rivals nearly went to war again, after a suicide attack in Indian Kashmir killed 40 paramilitary troopers. India sent warplanes into Pakistan, which then mounted a counter-attack, and an Indian pilot was shot down and captured in the ensuing skirmish.
China and India also contest an ill-defined border in the Ladakh region, where troops from both sides have occasionally confronted each other.
In 1962, India lost a short but bloody war with China, fought in Ladakh and eastern Arunachal Pradesh state. Arunachal Pradesh remains in India's control, while China administers a large area adjacent to Ladakh called Aksai Chin.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had long wanted to do away with the special provisions that had given Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution, a flag and the right to frame its own laws.
The provisions were granted to the state via the Indian Constitution's Article 370, after Jammu and Kashmir's Hindu king agreed to accede to India in 1947.
What Happens Now?
On August 5, Modi's government revoked Article 370 and other related provisions, passing a new law to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir.
Simultaneously, it locked the region down, detaining thousands of people, imposing movement restrictions and enforcing a communications blackout. Many of those detained have now been released and most curbs eased.
The state of around 12.5 million people will be bifurcated into two federally-administered territories on Oct 31, with the Jammu region and Kashmir valley comprising one and the Buddhist-enclave of Ladakh forming the other.
Headed by a lieutenant governor appointed by New Delhi, the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have its own elected assembly with a five-year term, but most powers will be retained by New Delhi.
Ladakh, a wind-swept high-altitude desert region that borders China, will be under the federal government's direct administration with its own lieutenant governor.
Culturally, religiously and ethnically different from the Kashmir Valley, many Ladakhis have long wanted their land to be recognised as a separate union territory.
Ladakh's two districts - including Kargil, where India and Pakistan fought a short war in 1999 - were already run by "hill councils", giving them more autonomy than other parts of Jammu and Kashmir state.
On Thursday, Ladakh will separate entirely, with some hoping it will bring more development to the remote province. And on cue, the federal government this month said it would open up parts of Ladakh's Siachen glacier, the world's highest battlefield, to tourists.
Post-separation, Jammu and Kashmir will have five representatives in India's lower house, while Ladakh will send one representative to the parliament in New Delhi.
What Does It Mean?
On the ground, the reorganisation will significantly dilute the ability of Jammu and Kashmir representatives to govern their own affairs by making 106 federal laws applicable to the region, including India's penal code.
More than 150 laws made by the state government will also be repealed, and amendments made in seven other laws. Among those will be provisions that will lift prohibitions on leasing land to persons who are not permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
There has been apprehension, particularly in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley, that the scrapping of Article 370 will lead to an influx of outsiders buying land and settling there.
The reorganisation specifies that the Jammu and Kashmir assembly will not be able to make laws on policing and public order, effectively ceding control of the entire security apparatus to New Delhi.