It’s been a week now since blackout in Kashmir. On August 2nd over 25000 troops were moved to Kashmir valley. A week before 10,000 paramilitary forces were moved to the valley. Indians were uncertain and speculating about what was happening in Kashmir. On August 4th Sunday, all the local political leaders came under house arrest. Section 144 was imposed in J&K. Internet and other form of communication – cellphone and landline network in J&K was blocked. With imposition of section 144, Kashmiris could not step out of their house.
(Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973 empowers an executive magistrate to prohibit an assembly of more than four persons in an area. )
On Monday August 5th Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a historical announcement to remove the Article 370 from the Indian Constitution.
What is Article 370?
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution provides for special status to Jammu and Kashmir. So, according to Article 370:
- Jammu and Kashmir has a separate constitution of its own (Other states in India come under the jurisdiction of Indian Constitution)
- Union Parliament can make laws only on matters that come under Union list – such as defence, foreign affairs, banking, currency and coinage, union duties and taxes. J&K state has jurisdiction on most of the items in Concurrent list. J&K has complete jurisdiction on State list like other states in India.
- Indian Parliament cannot make laws on certain matters without the consultation of the J&K state legislature, like alteration of the name or territories of the J&K state (ART 3). And, International treaty or agreement affecting the territory of the state.
- Directive Principles of State Policy does not apply to J&K.
- Article 35A was inserted in 1954 providing special right to J&K regarding employment, acquisition of property and permanent resident status. (When fundamental right to property (article 19f) was removed in 1978 by 44th amendment in entire India, this amendment dint apply to J&K)
How to remove Article 370?
The Article 370 can be removed by the President of India with the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the J&K State.
What happened on August 5th, 2019?
Since J&K state was under governor’s rule (as in there was no government ruling the state), President issued an order to scrap Article 370 in consultation with the Governor of the state, Satya Pal Malik. With this all the special status of J&K ends and comes under Indian Constitution just like any other state in India.
Was it a right way to do?
There are arguments applauding current Modi Government’s action as there was no other way out to scrap the Article 370, as the J&K people would never give up their special status.
While, there are other arguments about undemocratic method. It has been described as “Death of Democracy”. What is democracy? Government by the people, for the people and of the people. In terms of Kashmir, article was scrapped with an Iron Fist. People were completely cut-off from rest of the world. Every Indian citizen were discussing on Facebook, Twitter, Watsapp on what is happening in J&K except its own people who were actually affected by it.
Just imagine if the same thing happened to one of your state…
August 9: Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019
President of India Ram Nath Kovind on August 9th, Friday gave his assent to divide Jammu and Kashmir and to form two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh. Both the UTs will come into existence on October 31.
Section 144 lifted on August 9th and schools and colleges to reopen. It may take a while to restore other forms of communication.
Response from other countries:
Pakistan: Pakistan has suspended Samjhauta Express and Thar Express, train link between Delhi and Pakistan. Pakistan expelled the Indian diplomat and they have also banned the screening of Bollywood films in its territory.
Samjhauta Express commonly called “Friendship Express” is a bi-weekly train—Thursday and Monday—that runs between Delhi and Attari in India and Lahore in Pakistan. The word Samjhauta means “agreement”, “accord” and “compromise” in both Hindi and Urdu. The train was started on 22 July 1976 following the Shimla Agreement in 1972.
United Nations: UN chief Antonio Guterres has emphasised India and Pakistan not to escalate J&K issue and follow the Shimla Agreement 1972.
(Shimla Agreement 1972: Shimla Agreement on Bilateral Relations between India and Pakistan signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and President of Pakistan, Z. A. Bhutto, in Simla on 2 July 1972. The agreement converted the cease-fire line of 17 December 1971 into the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan and it was agreed that “neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations”
According to Shimla agreement the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations. They shall always respect each others national unity, territorial integrity, political independence and sovereign equality.
Further, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, they will refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of each other.)
China: According to latest ‘The Hindu’ report, China has criticised the unilateral action taken by India on J&K. China has also supports UN opinion on adhering to Shila Agreement 1972.
USA: United States maintains that it is a bilateral issue and it should be resolved calmly between two countries.
What about Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin?
India always claimed PoK and Aksai Chin is part of Indian territory. With the scrapping of article 370, this position was emphasised by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday while speaking in the Lok Sabha, “Whenever I have said Jammu and Kashmir, it includes PoK and Aksai Chin.”
Below is the map of PoK and Aksai Chin