The center on Monday, 05 August 2019, repealed Article 370 and Article 35(A), form part XXI of the Indian constitution; Part XXI hands temporary, transitional and special provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it an autonomy from the center’s government in all aspects except for defense, finance, and communications.
Here’s a brief overview of what Article 370 and Article 35(A) are –
Under Article 370, the center requires the state’s concurrence to apply laws – in all fields except for defense, finance, and communications. The residents (citizens) of Jammu and Kashmir live under a different set of laws, ones governed and passed by the state. Laws regarding property, citizenship and the fundamental rights are also different as compared to all other citizens of India.
Article 370 essentially prevents citizens that are not Kashmiri citizens, by birth or marriage, from owning, buying or selling property in the state of Kashmir.
Article 370 also prohibits the center from declaring a financial emergency in the state. An emergency can only be declared in case of war and/or external aggression. Hence, Article 370 grants Jammu and Kashmir a special autonomous status, without giving it absolute autonomy.
Whereas, Article 35(A) enables the state’s legislature to define a ‘permanent resident’ of Kashmir and provide special rights to these permanent residents. A permanent resident pf Kashmir has since then been defined as someone who was a state subject on 14 May 1954, and/or has been residing in Kashmir for more than ten years and has lawfully acquired immovable property. This law also prohibits Kashmiri women from acquiring property in Kashmir, in case of marriage to a non-Kashmiri and extends to any progeny they have.
What does the abrogation of Article 370 entail for the citizens of Kashmir, and India as a country?
With Jammu and Kashmir’s special status being revoked, anybody who’s a citizen of India is legally permitted to buy, sell and own land in Kashmir.
This decision has created mixed responses, with a lot of citizens lauding the move made by the Centre, for taking prompt and effective decisions. On the other hand, the upper house witnessed massive uproar from the Opposition parties.
Late Sunday night, 4th August 2019, mainstream party leader, National Conference Leaders, Omar and Faruq Abdullah, and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest and all mobile, broadband internet and cable tv connections were completely shut down.
The government order also said no public meetings or rallies would be allowed and there would be “no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed”. Identity cards of service officials would be considered as movement passes in various areas. These developments come a few days after the evacuation of tourists from the state and have triggered panic in the Valley.
The decision to Article 370 was followed by the moving of a bill in the Rajya Sabha by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, with legislature while Ladakh shall be a Union territory without legislature.
A Union Territory is directly controlled by the Union, that is, the Central Government, while states have a separate governing body, their individual state governments. Hence, at present, Kashmir and Jammu come under the legislation of the Central Government.
However, Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Rajya Sabha, “Several MPs have asked how long will J&K remain a Union Territory- I want to assure them when the situation gets normal & the right time comes, we’re ready to make J&K a state again. It may take a little longer, but it will become a state once again, one day.”
Further information on – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_k4jC7QAIQ
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