–Special constitutional status allows only residents to buy property and hold state govt jobs in region
–Home Minister Amit Shah tables bill proposing splitting occupied state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir
NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR: Making a mockery of so called world’s largest democracy, India’s Narendra Modi government on Monday unilaterally changed the constitutional status of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region by revoking the occupied region’s special status through a presidential order, stoking pro-freedom sentiments in Kashmiris and putting the entire subcontinent at risk of a nuclear war.
President Ram Nath Kovind, in “concurrence” with the “Jammu and Kashmir government”, promulgated Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 which states that provisions of the Indian Constitution are applicable in the state.
The President issued Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 which comes into force “at once”, and shall “supersede the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954”.
“All the provisions of the Constitution” shall apply in relation to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, it said.
Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also the president of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), announced the revocation amid an uproar in two houses of Parliament, Lok Sabha, the Lower House, and Rajya Sabha, the Upper House, while Kashmir was under a historic curfew forcing thousands of natives inside their homes and deprived of all means to communicate with the outside world.
Shah’s statement came after Prime Minister Modi convened a cabinet meeting and the government’s top-decision making body on security matters, the Cabinet Committee on Security, which he heads.
The disputed Kashmir territory, which India claims as its “integral part” is divided between Pakistan and India. Two of the three wars, India and Pakistan have fought since their independence from British rule in 1947, were over Kashmir.
The revoked law, Article 370 of the constitution, gives occupied Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters except for defense, communications and foreign affairs. The law also forbids Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships thus thwarting any potential attempt of a demographic change.
The opposition in the Indian parliament has seen the move as a bid to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers. It is worth mentioning that Muslims form about 96.4% of the total population of Kashmir Valley.
Shah also introduced the “Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill” which, if passed, will split the state into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, which will have an elected legislature, and Ladakh, which will be ruled directly by the central government without a legislature of its own.
Shah announced in the Rajya Sabha that Article 370, which accords special status to Jammu & Kashmir, will be revoked from the day of the President’s assent.
Constitution(application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 2019 pic.twitter.com/ueZWl8VU59
— ANI (@ANI) August 5, 2019
Currently, the Indian held state of Jammu and Kashmir comprises three regions: Hindu-majority Jammu, Muslim-majority Kashmir, and Buddhist-majority Ladakh.
After Shah proposed that the regulation under Article 370 will not be applicable after the presidential nod, the Rajya Sabha witnessed massive uproar with the opposition slamming the BJP’s government at Center over the controversial move which has put the security of the entire region at stake.
Article 370 has been the bone of contention between the state’s politicians and the BJP. The controversial article deals with special powers conferred upon the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
It allows the state constituent assembly to make its own constitution, thereby giving it an autonomous state power.
Apart from the autonomy, Article 370 also lends other powers such as the need of concurrence of the state government if the central government plans to make amendments to the concurrent list of subjects.