The central government on Monday revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed the state be broken down into two Union Territories – the Jammu and Kashmir division (with a legislature) and Ladakh.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah met a long-held promise of the Bharatiya Janata Party Monday when he moved a resolution in the Rajya Sabha that Article 370, which allowed Jammu and Kashmir its own Constitution, will no longer be applicable.
“The President on the recommendation of Parliament is pleased to declare as from 5th of August 2019, all clauses of the said Article 370 shall cease to be operative… ,” the resolution stated.
Shah also moved a bill proposing bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir division and Ladakh.
Shah, who introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, said the Union Territory in Ladakh will have no legislature like Chandigarh. The other Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Delhi and Puducherry.
The announcement, capping days of uncertainty in Jammu and Kashmir, led to an uproar in the House and outside too. India had failed Kashmir in keeping its promises, PDP chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufi said. She said the government’s unilateral decision “to scrap Article 370” is illegal and unconstitutional. It will make India an occupational force in Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba said on Twitter. “It will have catastrophic consequences for the subcontinent. GOI’s intentions are clear. They want the territory of J&K by terrorising its people. India has failed Kashmir in keeping its promises,” Mehbooba, who is under house arrest in Srinagar, said on Twitter. “Not sure how long I’ll be able to communicate. Is this the India we acceded to?” she asked.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah echoed her outrage, also labelling the government’s move “unilateral”. “Government of India (GOI)’s unilateral and shocking decisions today are a total betrayal of the trust that the people of Jammu & Kashmir had reposed in India when the state acceded to it in 1947. The decisions will have far-reaching and dangerous consequences. This is an aggression against people of the state as had been warned by an all-parties meeting in Srinagar yesterday,” he said.
Shah, who received a standing ovation from his party colleagues when he entered the House minutes before proceedings in the Rajya Sabha commenced, termed the move “historical”, saying Article 370 has not allowed integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the country.
When the House met, Naidu said he had used his discretionary powers to waive the requirement of the government to give advance notice and circulate a bill as the issue was of urgent national importance.
Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the entire Kashmir Valley was under curfew and three former chief ministers of the state and political leaders have been placed under house arrest. He wanted the situation to be discussed first but Naidu allowed Shah to move the resolution. Shah moved the resolution to abolish Article 370 as well as the state reorganisation bill along with listed bills to extend reservation for economically weaker sections in educational institutions and government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir.
The reorganisation bill provides for formation of union territory of Ladakh without legislature and a separate one for Jammu and Kashmir with legislature.