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Centre scraps Article 370, bifurcates J&K into two Union Territories

Our Bureau/Agencies New Delhi | Updated on August 05, 2019 Published on August 05, 2019

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Rajya Sabha.   -  PTI

A massive security build-up in the border State preceded the RS nod for resolutions

The ruling BJP on Monday took a giant political and Constitutional leap by abrogating Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir a special status and bifurcated the State into two Union Territories (UTs).

The audacious resolutions pushed in the Rajya Sabha galvanised the party faithful who burst crackers while simultaneously provoking former Home Minister P Chidambaram to dub it as “the worst day in the Constitutional history of India”.

Also read: What is Article 370?

Opposing the move, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “I had never imagined that the head of the state which is India’s crown will be chopped off.”

Through two statutory resolutions that were introduced and passed on the same day under the watch of Home Minister Amit Shah, the enabling provision of Article 370 that channels the implementation of Central laws and Constitutional provisions in Jammu and Kashmir with the concurrence of the State Legislature was scrapped. The border State has also been bifurcated into two separate UTs: Ladakh, without a Legislative Assembly and Jammu and Kashmir with a Legislative Assembly with curtailed powers.

 

Bill passed

The motions and the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill were passed by a voice vote. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was passed with 125 members voting in favour of it and 65 voting against it. The Congress, the Left parties, the DMK, the MDMK, the SP and the RJD voted against the Bill, while the Trinamool Congress walked out. One member abstained from voting.

Read: Lok Sabha: Opposition walks out as Amit Shah moves J&K reorganisation resolution

Meanwhile, the Congress MP from Assam and party’s chief whip in the Rajya Sabha Bhubaneshwar resigned both from the Congress and the Rajya Sabha, protesting the party’s decision to oppose the resolution revoking Article 370.

 

‘Darkest day of democracy’

The Centre’s announcement follows a massive security build-up in the border State and government advisories asking pilgrims on Amarnath Yatra and tourists to leave Kashmir immediately. The State remains on edge with all the top political leaders, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah, under house arrest and internet services snapped.

The BJP and its ideological affiliates hailed the step as “historic” and “glorious”, while in the Valley, there was eruption of rage with Mehbooba Mufti describing it as “the darkest day in Indian democracy” which will have “catastrophic consequences”.

Earlier in the day, Shah introduced the two statutory resolutions in the Rajya Sabha. The first resolution advocates that Parliament pass the public notification issued by the President with regard to Article 370.

It said, “In exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (3) of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, the President, on the recommendation of Parliament, is pleased to declare that as on 5th of August, 2019, all clauses of the said Article 370 shall cease to be operative except Clause (1) thereof…”

The second resolution moved by the Home Minister concerned reorganisation of the border State into two Union Territories.

“The Ladakh division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir has a large area but is sparsely populated with a very difficult terrain. There has been a long pending demand of the people of Ladakh to give it the status of Union Territories to enable them to realise their aspirations. The Union Territory of Ladakh will be without Legislature,” said the statement of object for reorganisation of the State.

“Further, keeping in view the prevailing internal security situation, fuelled by cross-border terrorism in the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir, a separate Union Territory for Jammu and Kashmir is being created. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be with legislature,” it added.

Credits: Screenshot from BJP Spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain's tweet

 

Reactions

Black day in constitutional history of India: Chidambaram

Terming the revoking of Article 370 a “catastrophic step”, the Congress accused the BJP of taking the decision “for votes” and said it marks a “black day” in the constitutional history of India.

Reacting to the development, senior Congress leader and former home minister P Chidambaram said, “We anticipated a misadventure, but did not think in our wildest dreams that they will take such a catastrophic step.”

“Today is a black day in the constitutional history of India,” he said outside Parliament. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the BJP of taking the decision “for votes”. He also alleged that the party is playing with unity and integrity of the state.

Omar Abullah says it's betrayal of trust

Terming the government’s move on Article 370 “unilateral and shocking”, former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said it was a total “betrayal of trust” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“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.

“GOI has resorted to deceit and stealth in recent weeks to lay the ground for these disastrous decisions. Our darkest apprehensions have unfortunately come true after the GOI and its representatives in J&K lied to us that nothing major was planned,” he said.

He said that the announcement was made after the entire state, particularly the Valley, was turned into a garrison. “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.

“The scrapping of Articles 370 and 35A raise fundamental questions on the state’s accession because that was done on the very terms enunciated in these articles. The decisions are unilateral, illegal and unconstitutional and will be challenged as such by the National Conference . A long and tough battle lies ahead. We are ready for that,” he said.

Arun Jaitley says its monumental decision

BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the government’s move on Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir is a monumental decision towards national integration.

Asserting that separate status led to separatism, he said in a blog that no dynamic nation could allow this situation to continue.

Complimenting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, he said, “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 decision of the government will help the people of Jammu and Kashmir the most. More investment, more industry, more private educational institutions, more jobs and more revenue will come,” he said, adding that Kashmir’s regional leaders now feel they would not be able to whip up the fake issue of ‘sentiment verses benefit’.

Ram Madhav on Article 370

BJP leader Ram Madhav hailed the government’s decision on Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and said the martyrdom of its idealogue Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee for complete integration of the state into India has been “honoured“.

The national general secretary and the party’s point person in the state said that the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir was a longstanding demand of the nation. “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 Home Minister Amit Shah made the announcement in Parliament.

While speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Shah moved a resolution that all clauses of Article 370 will not be applicable to the state. “PM @narendramodi ji ne kamaal kar diya. Desh ki ummeedon pe khare utre. Many many congrats to @narendramodi ji and @AmitShah ji on this historic decision regarding #Article370. This has opened up the path of growth and development for #JammuAndKashmir,” tweeted party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain

Mehaboba Mufti comments

Following the Home Minister’s announcement, ruckus was created in the House. "Today marks darkest day in Indian democracy," Mehbooba Mufti said. Want to disempower Muslims to the extent where they become second class citizens in their own state, said Mufti.

Article 370 move will have catastrophic consequences for subcontinent, they want territory of J&K by terrorising it’s people, she added.

Home Minister Amit Shah urged members of parliament to discuss the legislation that seeks to end autonomous status for Muslim-majority Kashmir, which allows only residents to buy property and hold state government jobs.

Earlier, Home Minister Amit Shah had urged members of parliament to discuss the legislation that seeks to end special status for the State, which allows only residents to buy property and hold state government jobs.

 

What is Article 370

The Article 370 gives special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It allowed the State to have its own Constitution. Article 370 is a temporary provision in the Constitution and Article 35A, which gives special rights to the natives of the state, was added through a Constitution order issued by the President of India.

Published on August 05, 2019
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