The government on Monday revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, provoking outrage from the NC and PDP and triumph from leaders of India’s ruling BJP.
Meeting a long-held promise of the BJP, Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved a resolution in the Rajya Sabha that Article 370, which allowed Jammu and Kashmir to have its own Constitution, will no longer be applicable.
“The president on the recommendation of Parliament is pleased to declare as from 5th of August 2019, all clauses of the said Article 370 shall cease to be operative… ,” stated the resolution moved by the Home minister.
Shah also moved a bill proposing bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir division and Ladakh.
Shah, who introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation bill, said the union territory in Ladakh will have no legislature like Chandigarh. The other union territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Delhi and Puducherry.
The announcement, capping days of uncertainty in Jammu and Kashmir, led to an uproar, in the House and outside it too.
India had failed Kashmir in keeping its promises, PDP chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufi said.
She said the government’s unilateral decision “to scrap Article 370” is illegal and unconstitutional.
It will make India an occupational force in Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba said on Twitter.
“It will have catastrophic consequences for the subcontinent. GOIs intentions are clear. They want the territory of J&K by terrorising its people. India has failed Kashmir in keeping its promises,” Mehbooba, who is under house arrest in Srinagar, said on Twitter.
“Not sure how long I’ll be able to communicate. Is this the India we acceded to?” she asked.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah echoed her outrage, also labelling the government’s move “unilateral”.
“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.
The government, he said in a statement, had resorted to “deceit and stealth” to lay the ground for these disastrous decisions.
“Those of us who gave democratic voice to the people of Jammu & Kashmir, are incarcerated as lakhs of armed security personnel have been put on the ground… A long and tough battle lies ahead. We are ready for that,” he said.
The mood was triumphant in the BJP quarters.
The government’s move on Article 370, said senior party leader Arun Jaitley, is a monumental decision towards national integration.
His party colleague Ram Madhav also hailed the decision.
“What a glorious day. Finally the martyrdom of thousands starting with Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee for complete integration of J&K into Indian Union is being honoured and the seven decade old demand of the entire nation being realised in front of our eyes; in our lifetime. Ever imagined?” he tweeted moments after Shah’s announcement.
Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said the move had opened the path of growth and development for Jammu and Kashmir.