Centre scraps Article 370- Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh to be Union Territories

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The Home Minister, Amit Shah put forth a statement saying that Ladakh will now be a Union Territory, and Jammu and Kashmir will be a separate Union Territory. On Monday, the Centre scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution that previously granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. According to the order, the scrapping would come into immediate effect. This annulment follows the Centre’s decision to introduce the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill in Parliament.

Amit Shah, moved the Rajya Sabha and announced the government’s decision to repeal Article 370. He said that the government will bifurcate the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature, and Ladakh, without a legislature. Such a historic decision is bound to have repercussions on the restive state as the abrogation has suspended the clause that allowed all laws to be ratified by the state assembly. The state assembly now stands dissolved.

President Ram Nath Kovind has exercised his power under Clause 1 of Article 370. According to the presidential order sections under Article 35A has been done away with which provided special privileges to “permanent residents”.  

“Under Article 370 there is a provision that the President may by public notification declare that this article shall cease to be operative… from such date as he may specify… Because there is President’s rule, all decisions of the Assembly will be taken by the House and we can pass the order with majority,” Shah said in the Upper House.

Article 370 laid down that leaving aside matters of foreign affairs, defence, communications and issues specific to the Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir, Parliament needs the state government’s ratification for all other laws. Till now, the residents of the state lived under a separate set of laws- citizenship, fundamental rights, and ownership of property. From now on, Jammu and Kashmir will be governed by the Indian laws as applicable to other Indian citizens.

There was an obvious uproar following Shah’s statement, to which the Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said “Kashmir is under curfew, chief ministers and party leaders are under house arrest, there is an environment of war in Kashmir.”