The Modi government has fundamentally altered Jammu and Kashmir's relationship with the Union of India. The special provisions that were unique to the state are gone. In fact, J&K is not a state anymore.
The state will be bifurcated into two union territories. Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature and Ladakh will be without one. A presidential order issued this morning removed all but one provision of Article 370 of the Constitution.
Till today, the article allowed the state to have its own constitution. That's not all, the state legislature had the powers to approve the central laws that it wants to enforce, effectively giving it more autonomy. That now stands cancelled.
So what happens now? All central laws will apply directly on the state and there will be no separate laws. Citizens from other states can buy land and property and the state police is now under the central government.
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CNBC-TV18’S Shereen Bhan and Parikshit Luthra discussed the road ahead for the region with a diverse panel comprising legal experts, government voices, a former diplomat and a retired Northern Command chief of the Indian army.
BJP spokesperson Gopal Krishna Agarwal echoed his party’s sentiment, saying that J&K has lost 70 years of development opportunities because of Article 370 and thus lagged behind other states.
“We have been discussing this issue for 70 years. It was clearly mentioned in our manifesto that we wanted the Article 370 to go, Article 35A to go. For five years, in the last government, we had been discussing. Decision of such a high magnitude required preparation and that preparation was done on the ground,” Agarwal said.
RSS supporter Ratan Sharda added that the long-standing stalemate needed to be done away with and that the move would also give Jammu its own voice when compared to Kashmir.
Lt Gen (retd) DS Hooda who was in-charge of the Northern Command of the Indian Army, observed that going forward it would be a battle of the narrative which will determine the future.
Senior lawyer at the Supreme Court, Aman Hingorani, said the central government in Delhi always virtually enforced the Indian Constitution on the state of J&K but now what was being done covertly would be done overtly.
“I would divide this move in two parts; firstly, removing the 1954 order and replacing it with the application of the entire constitution on the state. Secondly, using Article 370 Clause 1 to affectively circumvent or nullify the protection given by Article 370 Clause 3. This move would be bad for the same reason as the encroachments on the state’s autonomy. First part of today’s notification doesn’t really change much on the ground,” Hingorani observed.