Kashmir Special Status (Article 370) Ends "At Once"
Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been abolished by a presidential order that would come into force "at once", Home Minister Amit Shah said in parliament today, announcing the most far-reaching move on the state in nearly seven decades. The announcement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting of his cabinet at his house this morning. Jammu and Kashmir will also be bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Prepping for any trouble in the state after the announcement, the centre today moved 8,000 paramilitary troops from different parts of the country to Kashmir, in addition to nearly 35,000 personnel moved in the past week.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this big story:
- Article 370 gave Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters barring defence, communications and foreign affairs. Its removal ends special status for Kashmir, which was key to its accession to India in 1947.
- Article 370 made it necessary for the centre to get the state legislature's approval for introducing any policies or constitutional powers to the state.
- Jammu and Kashmir will cease to be a state and become two union territories with two Lieutenant Governors. Ladakh will be a Union Territory without a legislature and Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature.
- The government's huge step followed a massive build-up of troops in the sensitive Kashmir Valley and a night where senior leaders including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest.
- Internet and phone lines were forced out of service in parts of Jammu and Kashmir. All educational institutions and offices are closed and groups have been banned from gathering in Kashmir and Jammu.
- Thousands of paramilitary troops were sent to Kashmir last week after the government said it was cancelling the Amarnath Yatra, an annual pilgrimage, and asked tourists and outsiders to leave the state.
- The cabinet met this morning at the home of PM Modi after which all ministers and the PM moved to parliament for Amit Shah's big announcement.
- Arun Jaitley said in tweets: "A historical wrong has been undone today. Article 35A came through the back door without following the procedure under Article 368 of the Constitution of India. It had to go."
- The government received support from parties like ally Shiv Sena and even from rival leaders like Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal and Mayawati. BJP ally Nitish Kumar's party, however, was among those who opposed the move.
- Omar Abdullah said: "The 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."