India abolishes special status of occupied Kashmir

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NEW DELHI: The Indian government on Monday rushed through a presidential decree to abolish Article 370 of the Constitution which grants special status to Indian occupied Kashmir, as tensions mounted in the disputed valley with unprecedented numbers of Indian troops deployed in the region.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah introduced a resolution to scarp Article 370 in Rajya Sabha earlier today, which would revoke the special status granted to occupied Kashmir and make the state a Union Territory with the 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.
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.
Article 35A which stems from Article 370 was introduced through a Presidential Order in 1954. This article empowers the legislature of occupied Kashmir to define the state’s permanent residents and their special rights and privileges.
Under Article 35A, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in occupied Kashmir.
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. …Agencies


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