In a historic development that goes a long way towards integrating India like never before, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government on Monday scrapped the much-debated Article 370 of the constitution that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir and has the effect of differentiating it from the rest of the country in numerous ways. Home Minister Amit Shah proposed the abrogation of Article 370 from the state, as well as the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories - J&K and Ladakh.
Over the years, due to the circumstances created by Article 370 as well as the continuous endeavour by Pakistan to drum up trouble in the state, Kashmir had become one of the most heavily-militarised areas in the world, and a place where hundreds of Indian soldiers have been martyred trying to keep the citizens safe. On the occasion of Article 370 being abrogated, Major Gaurav Arya paid tribute to the martyrs and extended a message to the families of the armed forces.
"For every innocent who was killed, for every soldier who was martyred, for every jawan who was kicked slapped and humiliated, for every widow who lost her husband, for every orphan whose father did not come home, and for every home in India for whom their son is a photograph on the wall, today, justice has been served. And if this means shedding blood, so be it. Jai Hind," he said.
In an announcement with massive repercussions for Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister Amit Shah has announced in Rajya Sabha that the government has decided to repeal Article 370 of the Constitution which grants special status to J&K. This move also nullifies Article 35 A, which was also in practice in the state.
The government has also decided to bifurcate the state into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be without a legislature.
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.’ Abrogating Article 370 also has the effect of abrogating Article 35A.
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 an 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.