The Narendra Modi government scraps Kashmir’s special status under Indian constitution

Image: Reuters/Danish Ismail
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This post has been updated.

India has repealed Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which grants special status to the restive state of Jammu & Kashmir.

This law gave J&K autonomy over its affairs, except in foreign affairs, defence, and communication.

Addressing parliament today (Aug. 5) following two days of heightened security in the state, home minister Amit Shah announced that Article 370 would no longer exist. President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, has signed this notification. Shah’s announcement was met with loud protests from opposition parties.

The central government was obligated to take the government of J&K into confidence before such a dramatic move, but it completely bypassed this provision. It helped that the state is under the central rule currently.

With this move, Ladakh district of the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been turned into a union territory, which will be governed by the central government. The move also renders the regions of Jammu and Kashmir Valley union territories—however, these will have their own legislative assembly, like the state of Delhi.

J&K notification signed by president Ram Nath Kovind.
J&K notification signed by president Ram Nath Kovind.

The Modi government’s move sparked a furious debate across India. For instance, Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of the state and a leader of the J&K-based National Conference party said it will have dangerous consequences and that “our darkest apprehensions have come true,” news channel NDTV reported.

Abdullah, along with other top leaders of the state like former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, has been placed under house arrest since late last night.