NEW DELHI: Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has introduced a resolution to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution which grants a special status to occupied Kashmir, on Monday.
According to reports, the tensions mounted in the disputed valley with unprecedented numbers of Indian troops deployed in the region.
Earlier in the day, Home Minister Amit Shah announced in Rajya Sabha that the government had decided to repeal Article 370 of the Constitution, which would revoke the special status granted to occupied Kashmir and make the state a Union Territory with legislature.
The occupied valley would be bifurcated into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be without a legislature, he said, amid uproar from the opposition in the Upper House.
A spate of developments in Indian-occupied Kashmir during the past 10 days have triggered fear and panic among residents and leaders, with New Delhi confirming it had deployed at least 10,000 troops in the region. A further 70,000 have been deployed since, according to AFP.
What is Article 370?
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a ‘temporary provision’ which grants special autonomous status to occupied Kashmir. All the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to occupied Kashmir.
According to this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, the Indian Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws. The residents of occupied Kashmir, therefore, live under a separate set of laws as compared to Indian citizens elsewhere in the country, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights. As a result, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in occupied Kashmir.
Temple of democracy has been deceived: Mehbooba Mufti
Former chief minister of Indian-occupied Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti condemned the proposed revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution in a series of tweets.
“People like us who placed faith in Parliament, the temple of democracy have been deceived. Those elements in J&K who rejected the [Indian] constitution & sought resolution under the UN have been vindicated. This will exacerbate the alienation Kashmiris feel,” she wrote.
“What did J&K get for acceding to India? Another partition along communal lines? Our special status isn’t a gift bestowed upon us. It’s a right guaranteed by the same parliament. A contract entered into by J&K leadership & India. Today the very same contract has been violated,” the former minister said in another tweet.
Indian authorities have meanwhile placed large parts of the disputed region under lockdown. Communications were cut, with private mobile networks, internet services and telephone landlines blocked.
Before the network disruptions, senior former and current Kashmiri political leaders tweeted that they had been put under house arrest. Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were among the leaders placed under house arrest late Sunday night as curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the region.
“As per the order, there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed,” the state government ordered for Srinagar and surrounding areas in a statement obtained by AFP.
“There will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order.”