India announces plans to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status
Under the government’s proposal, Jammu and Kashmir will lose its status of a state and will become a union territory
NEW DELHI, August 5. /TASS/. The Indian government has announced scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Minister Amit Shah told the parliament on Monday.
"I am presenting the resolution to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir except the first clause 370 (1)," Shah said, noting that Jammu and Kashmir would be "reorganized."
The order has been signed by President Ram Nath Kovind, Shah said, showing the document to the MPs.
The ruling Indian People's Party has majority of seats in the country’s lower house of parliament (Lok Sabha), thus ensuring that the government’s decisions are backed by the legislature.
Under India’s Constitution, Jammu and Kashmir - the only Indian state where Muslims constitute a majority - has special autonomy. All bills in this state passed by the central government (except for those related to defense and foreign relations) must be backed by a local assembly. Citizens of other Indian regions had no right to buy land in Kashmir. The state has its official flag.
Under the government’s proposal, Jammu and Kashmir will lose its status of a state and will become a union territory (that has fewer rights than a state). Its historic Ladakh region will be separated from it, also becoming a union territory. Other changes related to Kashmir’s status and rule will be also introduced. However, Jammu and Kashmir will keep its legislature.
The situation in Jammu and Kashmir has been tense for years. The territory of the ancient principality of Kashmir has been a matter of dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, when the British Raj received independence and was split into two states based on religion. To date, there is no state border in Kashmir: its territory is divided by the Line of Control. Groups that favor departure from India are being active in the Indian part.