Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday proposed in Parliament that Article 370 pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir would be revoked, thereby paving the way for its complete integration into India, while the Modi government also moved to bifurcate the state into two union territories - J&K and Ladakh - with the former having a legislature and the latter not having one.
The historic move is being celebrated across the country for righting what MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh called in the Rajya Sabha 'the biggest mistake of Independent India' for its potential to not only open the floodgates for Jammu and Kashmir's development by doing away with certain land-ownership and reservation rules, but also for the knock-on effect of being able to give the youth of the state more opportunities, protecting them from radicalisation for which they had become easy prey. On the other hand, Opposition parties have also criticised the move, over the events of the days that preceded it - specifically the deployment of troops into the Kashmir valley and various leaders being taken into preventive custody, as well as claims that in revoking Article 370, India had reneged on a commitment based on which Kashmir had acceded into India.
Chief Minister Of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh flayed the manner in which the government had imposed its decision on Kashmir and has alleged that the democratic fibre of the nation had been ripped apart with what he termed as 'unprecedented violation of Constitutional norms'.
“It is a dark day for the Indian democracy,” said Captain Amarinder, adding that the Constitution of India had been rewritten without following any legal provisions. Such a historic decision should not have been taken and pushed through in this arbitrary manner, he said.
He went on to say that the decision would set a bad precedent as it would indicate that the Centre can reorganize any state in the country by imposing the President's rule and also added that the Constitutional provisions had never been abused before. Captain Amarinder also alleged that no stakeholders were taken into confidence and there were no discussions held with the political parties and that a unilateral decision had been taken.
The Congress leader blamed the BJP for not making any effort to evolve to a consensus on the matter as it was a vital matter of security and concern and said that any decision should have been taken after following due process of democratic and legal norms. He said that even the Presidential order to reorganise the state of Jammu and Kashmir had bypassed the two-third majority required in the Parliament.
Dubbing the Centre’s act of putting political leaders in Kashmir under preventive custody ahead of the announcement as 'despotic', Captain Amarinder Singh said that the voice of the people had been completely suppressed, which could have serious negative repercussions for India.
It exempts Jammu and Kashmir from following the Indian Constitution except for Article 1 and itself. It also restricts Parliament's legislative powers in Jammu and Kashmir. It was passed in the Constituent Assembly on May 27, 1949 and is the first article of Part XXI of the Indian Constitution. The heading of this part is ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’. Revoking Article 370 has the effect of also doing away with Article 35A which encapsulates some of the most debilitating aspects of Article 370.
Incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential order, Article 35 A defines the permanent residents of the state of Jammu and Kashmir by giving special rights and privileges to the state subjects. It stems from Article 370 that gives autonomous right to Jammu and Kashmir. The article is also referred to as Permanent Residents Law and bars woman belonging to the state from any property rights if she marries a person from outside the state. Even the children of such women do not get the right as they do not have any succession rights over the property.