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Article 370 ends in Jammu & Kashmir, state to be divided

August 5, 2019

Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been removed. Home Minister Amit Shah announced in Parliament a short while ago that President Ram Nath Kovind has signed an order that would come into force "at once".

The announcement has come after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting of his cabinet this morning. Jammu and Kashmir will also be "reorganised," said Shah, with the state being bifurcated into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. There were massive protests by the Opposition in Parliament and parties in Jammu and Kashmir.

Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted, "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 Centre has moved 8,000 paramilitary troops from different parts of the country to Kashmir.

What does the move mean?

  • Article 370 gives Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters barring defence, communications and foreign affairs.
  • 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.

There was a massive build-up of troops in the sensitive Kashmir Valley. Last night senior leaders of the state including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest.

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. - Omar Abdullah said, Former Chief Minister, Jammu & Kashmir

Internet and phone lines have been forced out of service in parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands of paramilitary troops have been sent to Kashmir after the government said it was cancelling the Amarnath Yatra, an annual pilgrimage, and asked tourists and outsiders to leave the state.

All educational institutions and offices are closed and groups have been banned from gathering in Kashmir and Jammu.

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