Lahore - In a major endorsement of Pakistan's principled position on Kashmir, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres Thursday made it clear that the UN position on this dispute continues to be governed by the UN Charter and the relevant Security Council resolutions. In a statement issued by his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric from New York, UN Secretary General also called on the parties to refrain from taking any steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir.

India's Hindu nationalist government earlier this week stripped the disputed region of its autonomy and split the Muslim-majority territory into two, a move that sent shock waves through South Asia.

Pakistan, which has legitimate claims on the Himalayan state and has been lending moral, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris for their UN-promised right to self-determination, reacted sharply. It expelled India's ambassador and suspended all trade with the neighbouring country on Wednesday.

"The Secretary-General has been following the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with concern and makes an appeal for maximum restraint," said the spokesperson in the statement, which was released both at the UN official website and twitter handle.

"The position of the United Nations on this region is governed by the Charter of the United Nations and applicable Security Council resolutions.

"The Secretary-General also recalls the 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, also known as the Simla Agreement, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations."

The racist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent in more troops and imposed a lockdown in the occupied valley before attempting at annexing Kashmir through a rushed presidential decree on Monday.

"The Secretary-General is also concerned over reports of restrictions on the Indian-side of Kashmir, which could exacerbate the human rights situation in the region, Dujarric said.

"The Secretary-General calls on all parties to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir."

Internet and telephone connections in Kashmir have been cut since Monday and a curfew remains imposed there, amid reports of grave human rights abuses by the Indian troops.

A Kashmiri youth, who somehow gained access to internet at a governmental building, shared on social media that there were reports of several deaths in Srinagar and Pulwama areas.

Kashmir has been disputed by India, Pakistan and China since 1947, and India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the Himalayan region.

The residents of Indian occupied part have been fighting for freedom from New Delhi for last three decades and tens of thousands of people have died in the struggle.

The Security Council has passed several resolutions which call for granting the Kashmiris right to self-determination to decide their political future.