Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir has been scrapped, announced Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha. Even as the opposition erupted in protest, Shah said that the government will be abrogating article 370 of the Constitution and further also introduced the J&K Reorganisation Bill, 2019, which will bifurcate J&K into the union territories of J&K and Ladakh.
While J&K will be a union territory with a legislature, Ladakh will be a union territory without a legislature.
These developments follow days of unrest in the valley, reports of massive troop deployments, the imposition of section 144 (prohibiting assembly over five members) in Srinagar and placing former J&K Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah under house arrest.
President Kovind Signs Order
President Kovind has signed the Constitution (Application of Jammu and Kashmir) Order 2019, which overrides Presidential Order of 1954. Article 35A of the Constitution was inserted through a Presidential Order of 1954, by the then President Rajendra Prasad.
However, article 370 will still require a two-third majority in both Houses of Parliament, as mentioned here.
The Presidential Order can be found here.
While article 370 grants special status to J&K in accordance with their Instrument of Accession to India, article 35A defines who would constitute the permanent residents of the state.
The Emergence Of Two Union Territories
The entire state of J&K will now be divided into two union territories.
- The first of these territories will be J&K, which will be a territory with a legislature, joining the ranks of Delhi NCR and Puducherry in their legislative structures
- The second will be Ladakh, which will be without a legislature
Both of these territories will reportedly have their own separate lieutenant governors.
This information is available through the statement of objects and reason in the J&K Reorganisation Bill, 2019.
While Shah appraised the RS of these plans, this screenshot is doing the rounds on social media. The text of the legislation is yet to be made public through Parliament.
Who Reacted How?
Rajya Sabha was in a state of pandemonium following Shah’s statement.
Amit Shah has made it clear that the government is moving ahead with their decision.
Meanwhile, MPs of the J&K People’s Democratic Party tore copies of the Consitution outside Parliament.
Mehbooba Mufti, former CM from the PDP tweeted her protest.
Today marks 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.— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) August 5, 2019
Former Finance Minister and lawyer Arun Jaitley hailed this decision and monumental, with the government scrapping a major temporary provision.
Among opposition parties , the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Biju Janta Dal (BJD) have expressed support for this step.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to react to these developments.