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Modi Govt Revokes J&K’s Status as a State, Proposes 2 UTs

Centre scraps Article 370 amid massive troop build-up in Kashmir, all political leaders of state -- including former CMs -- put under house arrest.
J&K- Article 370 revoked

Image Courtesy: HuffPost India

New Delhi: In an announcement that is bound to have massive political repercussions in Jammu & Kashmir, the Narendra Modi 2.0 government on Monday moved a Bill in the Rajya Sabha, withdrawing special status for J&K and proposing bifurcation of the state into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir division and Ladakh.

The Bill, The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, was introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah amid Opposition protests (barring the Bahujan Samaj party that supported it) about the Bill not being circulated, as per norms, leading the chair to ask the government to circulate the Bill then and there.

Amid the massive uproar in the House, Shah said the UT in Ladakh will have no legislature like Chandigarh while the other UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Delhi and Puducherry.

The scrapping of Article 370A and 35A, which was part of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) election manifesto, came amid days of uncertainty and panic gripping ordinary citizens in the State, with the Centre rushing in massive troops, calling off the Amarnath Yatra and putting all political leaders – including three former chief ministers—under house arrest and imposing Section 144. All this was done after the Army chief cited a “security threat”.

Just two days ago, even the J&K governor had claimed that the situation was ‘normal’, as per a report by PTI.

When a delegation of the National Conference (NC) met him on Saturday, governor Satyapal Malik said he had no knowledge of any changes in the constitutional provisions and assured that the deployment of additional paramilitary forces was purely for security reasons.   

Reacting to reports of bifurcation, People’s Democratic Party leader, Mehbooba Mufti, tweeted: “GOIs intention is clear & sinister. They want to change demography of the only muslim majority state in India, disempower Muslims to the extent where they become second class citizens in their own state.”

The former CM went on to term August 5 as the “darkest”day in Indian democracy. “Decision of J&K leadership to reject 2 nation theory in 1947 & align with India has backfired. Unilateral decision of GOI to scrap Article 370 is illegal & unconstitutional which will make India an occupational force in J&K,” she tweeted.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the Centre’s move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution that gives special status to the state of J&K is the “murder of democracy”. “I strongly condemn the government’s move. BJP has not only murdered the Constitution but also murdered democracy”, he said adding lakhs had laid their lives  -- police, armed forces, civilians and political activists – to stand firmly with India.

J&K CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami said the future of Kashmir was at stake. “We do not know what will happen tomorrow. But we will unite and fight to defend the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said in a Facebook post.

Terming the government's move on Article 370 "unilateral and shocking", former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said it was a total "betrayal of trust" of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"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 that the announcement was made after the entire state, particularly the Valley, was turned into a garrison.

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party came out in support of the government. AAAP national convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “We support the govt on its decisions on J & K. We hope this will bring peace and development in the state.”

On the other hand, the Left parties came out strongly against the Centre’s move to “attack on the Constitution” and are holding a protest demonstration on Monday in Parliament Street against the “attack on the Indian Constitution by scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution and dismantling the state of Jammu & Kashmir.”


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