India’s government has made a significant move to take direct control of the state of Kashmir. It will try to revoke a part of the constitution which gives India’s only Muslim majority state the right to run its own affairs. Opposition parties have called this one of the darkest days for the Indian Democracy as the government proposed to revoke the special status enjoyed by Kashmir. The Government used the powers allotted to them by the constitution, under Article 370(3), to inactive the special status in Jammu & Kashmir.
- The Union Home Minister of the Republic of India, Amit Shah, moved a resolution in the upper house of the Indian Parliament i.e, Rajya Sabha to repeal Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Section 3 of Article 370 was brought into play by issuing an immediate Presidential Order.
- Jammu and Kashmir set to be a Union Territory with a Legislature.
Article 370, which gives Kashmir more autonomy than any other state is sensitive because of the basis of which Kashmir joined India. The special status under article 370, apart from the constitution, was a promise made by India to Kashmir at the time of partition because at that time it was a Princely state. Both Pakistan and India wanted it to be a part of their country. The special status allowed the state of Kashmir to be independent of a larger part of the constitution except for defense, communication, and external affairs, and that’s essentially what has been done away with today by the government. The article along with 35(a) allowed the citizens of Kashmir with a separate set of laws, including citizenship, ownership of property, and other fundamental rights.
According to the official statement, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is set to bifurcate into two union territories- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. One of the many changes will now allow Indian citizens to buy land in Kashmir which wasn’t the case earlier. It would also allow many businesses to set up in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
It has been one of the ruling agenda of the ruling party(BJP) for a very long time now. It was one of the big election promises in the 2019 polls that just went by. Critics of the move to revoke this article say that this is part of the Hindu nationalist party’s plan to change the demographics of India’s only Muslim majority state.
Internet and phone services are completely cut off in the state. Last night, major politicians in the region were placed under house arrest. In the past week, tens and thousands of extra troops had been deployed in the state of Kashmir and section 144 is imposed which basically means that no more than 5 people can gather at one place at a time. Protests, public meetings, and rallies can’t be held.
Pakistan has condemned this move calling it unconstitutional. There were protests in the Pakistani occupied Kasmir(PoK) region. The entire region is disputed between India and Pakistan. Each claims it in full but control only parts of it. This move can be seen as India tightening its grip over their part of Kashmir which in turn certainly worries Pakistan.