The long-drawn armed conflict in Kashmir has claimed thousands of lives. It was in 1989 when the uprising was born against the corrupt governance and tyrannical rule of Sheikh Abdullah. Kashmir Issue has long been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan.
The two countries have fought four wars over the valley. The uprising has ruined the normal functioning of the state, and has forced New Delhi to notify the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) as a “disturbed area”. India has invoked controversial and draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to maintain peace. Though New Delhi tried to occasionally reach out to Pakistan and even to Kashmiris over the years, peace has not prevailed in the Kashmir Valley.
Since the partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947, the Kashmir dispute has been an obstinate one between them. They fought three wars over it in1948, 1965, and 1999, but have not been able to resolve it. The partition left the fate of over 550 princely states undecided. They were required to assent to either of the two states on the basis of the geographical location and wishes of their people.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir should have acceded to Pakistan because of its Muslim majority population and geographical location. But this was not occurred when Mahraja Hari Singh seek military assistance from India to repel the Pakistani tribal’s attacks. Ultimately Indian forces intervened and captured the state of Jammu and Kashmir. From that day Kashmir dispute has been the central issue between both Pakistan and India.
India and Pakistan were partitioned in 1947. Kashmir was fragmented as well, with two-thirds going to India and a third going to Pakistan. Even though India’s share was mainly Muslim, like Pakistan. Muslims dissented. India suppressed them. War broke out. It wasn’t settled until a 1949 cease-fire brokered by the United Nations and a resolution calling for a referendum, or plebiscite. It allowed Kashmiris to decide their future for themselves. India has never executed the resolution.
India has scrapped a law that awards special status to Indian-administered Kashmir amid an indeterminate lockdown and enormous troop deployment in the disputed region.
Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah told parliament that the president had signed a decree abolishing Article 370 of the constitution, disrobing the significant autonomy Kashmir had enjoyed for seven decades.
The government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), also passed a bill proposing the Jammu and Kashmir state be divided into two “union territories” directly ruled by New Delhi.
Article 370 was the basis of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to the Indian union at a time when former princely states had the choice to join either India or Pakistan after their liberation from the British rule in 1947.
The article, which came into effect in 1949, exempts Jammu and Kashmir state from the Indian constitution.
It allows the Indian-administered region authority to make its own laws in all matters except finance, defence, foreign affairs and communications.
It established a separate constitution and a distinct flag and denied property rights in the region to the outsiders.
That means the residents of the state live under different laws from the rest of the country in matters such as property ownership and citizenship.
Article 35A was introduced through a presidential order in 1954 to continue the old provisions of the territory regulations under Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
The article licenses the local legislature in Indian-administered Kashmir to define enduring residents of the region.
It prohibits outsiders from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs or winning education scholarships in the region.
The article, referred to as the Permanent Residents Law, also bars female residents of Jammu and Kashmir from property rights in the event that they marry a person from outside the state. The provision also ranges to such women’s children.
While Article 35A has remained unchanged, some aspects of Article 370 have been thinned over the decades.
Article 370 was added to India’s Constitution in 1949. It allows Jammu and Kashmir to have its own constitution, a distinct flag and independence over all matters except foreign affairs, defence and communications. This autonomy has been greatly windswept in practice over recent decades.
During latest national elections, which it won decisively, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by prime minister Narendra Modi, promised to revoke Article 370. Except for one clause to which the Government does not object, this happened by presidential order on 5 August.
A Bill has also been rapidly approved by both Houses of Parliament splitting the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two federal (also known as Union) territories. One will be called Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a state legislature. The other is Ladakh, which will be ruled directly from New Delhi.
The revocation of Article 370 extends to a key provision added under it, known as Article 35A. This gives special privileges to permanent inhabitants, including state government jobs and the special right to own property in Jammu and Kashmir. It is intended to protect the state’s distinct demographic character as the only Muslim-majority state in India. Others, including the BJP, view it as discriminatory against non-Muslims and hurting development. It was introduced in its current form in 1954 but a similar law was in place prior to Indian independence in 1947.
After Kashmir’s special status is gone, people from anywhere in India be able to buy property and permanently settle in the state. This has fuelled fear in the mind of Kashmiris — they think it would lead to the state’s demographic transformation from majority Muslim to majority Hindu.
A separate Union Territory will be created for Jammu & Kashmir with legislature, Amit Shah has revealed via a notification. “Keeping in view the prevailing internal security situation got worsened.
The already tempestuous bilateral relationship between India and Pakistan is worsening rapidly in response to India’s decision to revoke the special status of the Kashmir region. A presidential order issued by India on August 5 abolished Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution, and was soon followed by the passage of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Bill by the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament).
Indian military troops speedily moved into the region, cellular networks were limited, and high level government officials were placed under house arrest. In response, Pakistan has called on the international community, namely China and the United States, to take action, while India maintains that this is a matter of internal policy.