On Monday, August 5th, 2019 Modi Government 2.0 hit a masterstroke by creating another milestone in Indian history. In Rajya Sabha, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the government has decided to revoke Article 370 which gave special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This repeal was followed by the introduction of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill in the Parliament.
Among these announcements, Shah announced the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories- Jammu and Kashmir, with legislature and Ladakh, without legislature. This decision is taken to curb the constant threats of cross-border terrorism.
As Article 370 provided special rights to the citizens of Kashmir, after scrapping of this article Jammu and Kashmir will now be governed with the similar laws applicable to other Indian citizens. The mentioned special rights were regarding dual citizenship, ownership of property and fundamental rights.
In addition to this, Article 370 laid down that except for matters of defence, foreign affairs, communications, and issues in the Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir, Parliament needs the state government’s approval for all other laws. This special status has been removed by presidential order that came into force at once.
Having regard to its repercussions, the center had asked 8,000 paramilitary troops from different parts of the country to join 35,000 personnel in the state. To avoid any violence and unrest the former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti including Sajad Lone were put under house arrest. Internet and phone lines were forced out of service and all educational institutions and offices were suspended. This was followed by the imposition of Section 144 in the area.
As expected, some parties like Shiv Sena, BSP, AAP supported the government’s notion while some rivals like PDP opposed it strongly. Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti through their tweets expressed shock against the government’s unilateral decision. They called it the murder of democracy. One of the People Democratic Party’s (PDP) MPs tore his clothes, and the copy of the Indian Constitution to show resentment.
On an international level, Pakistan condemned India’s move by mentioning the fact that the territory continues to remain an international dispute as in UN Security Council resolutions. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi even mentioned the chances of bloodshed and war in Kashmir by outraged citizens.
Other mentions by Amit Shah
Among the chaos, Shah drew the attention with special mention of making Jammu and Kashmir, back to a state. He stated, “I want to assure when the situation gets normal and the right time comes, we are ready to J&K a state again. It may take a little longer, but it will become a state once again, one day.”
In his argument, Shah made the government’s intention clear by defending their decision to revoke Article 370 via presidential order. He claimed that it will lead to the development, eradication of corruption and terrorism in the region. As per the sources, after this series of announcements the central government is likely to set up a delimitation commission to decide the number and areas of constituencies for Jammu and Kashmir.