Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been removed, Home Minister Amit Shah said in parliament today, adding that President Ram Nath Kovind had signed an order that would come into force “at once”. The announcement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting of his cabinet at his house this morning. Jammu and Kashmir will also be “reorganised,” said the Home Minister, with the state’s bifurcation into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
- Article 370 gives Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters barring defence, communications and foreign affairs.
- The removal of this part of the constitution ends special status for Kashmir, which was key to its accession to India in 1947.
- Article 370 made it necessary for the centre to get the state legislature’s approval for introducing any policies or constitutional powers to the state.
- Jammu and Kashmir will cease to be a state and become two union territories with two Lieutenant Governors. Ladakh will be a Union Territory without a legislature and Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature.
- The government’s huge step comes after a massive build-up of troops in the sensitive Kashmir Valley and a night where senior leaders including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest.
- Internet and phone lines have been forced out of service in parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands of paramilitary troops have been sent to Kashmir after the government said it was cancelling the Amarnath Yatra, an annual pilgrimage, and asked tourists and outsiders to leave the state.
- The cabinet met this morning at the home of PM Modi after which all ministers and the PM moved to parliament for Amit Shah’s big announcement.
- All educational institutions and offices are closed and groups have been banned from gathering in Kashmir and Jammu.
Source – NDTV