J&K: Modi govt scraps Art 370, bifurcates State into 2 Union territories

New Delhi: Sending a strong signal to separatists, unfriendly neighbours and so-called super powers, the BJP-led Central government today moved a resolution to scrap Article 370 on Jammu and Kashmir, which gives special status to the restive State.

After a Cabinet meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved a resolution in the Rajya Sabha to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution. Shah said Jammu and Kashmir will also be ‘reorganised’ and introduced a Bill bifurcating the State of J&K into Union Territory of Ladakh and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Making the announcement in Rajya Sabha, Shah said the UT in Ladakh will have no legislature like Chandigarh while the other UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Delhi and Puducherry. Shah introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation bill. Acrimonious scenes were seen in the House soon after the announcement of the Home Minister.

“The Ladakh Division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir has a large area but is sparsely populated with very difficult terrain. There has been a long-pending demand of the people of Ladakh to give it the status of a Union Territory to enable them to realise their aspirations,” a statement from Shah said.

“The Union Territory of Ladakh will be without Legislature,” the statement said. “Further, keeping in view the prevailing internal security situation, fuelled by cross-border terrorism in the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir, a separate Union Territory for Jammu and Kashmir is being created. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be with legislature,” the statement added.

President Ram Nath Kovind in ‘concurrence’ with the ‘Jammu and Kashmir government’ promulgated Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 today which states that provisions of the Indian Constitution are applicable in the State.

The President issued Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 which comes into force ‘at once’, and shall ‘supersede the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954’.

‘All the provisions of the Constitution’ shall apply in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, it said. The government has added in the Article 367 of the Constitution a clause 4 which makes four changes. “Reference to this Constitution or to the provisions thereof shall be construed as references to the Constitution or the provisions thereof as applied in relations to Jammu and Kashmir,” it said.

The order said references to the person for the time being recognised by the president on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly of the State as the Sadar-i-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir, acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers of the state for the time being in office, shall be construed as references to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.

References to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir shall be construed as including references to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of his Council of Ministers, it said.

In provision to clause (3) of Article 370 of this Constitution, the expression ‘Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in clause (2)’ shall read ‘Legislative Assembly of the State’, it said.

Modi called up NDA allies before the announcement by Shah. And a Presidential order has withdrawn the 1954 order applying provisions of the Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir with modifications.

Leaders of Opposition parties on Monday met in the Parliament complex to discuss the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Is PoK the next target?
With the government today scrapping Article 370 and bifurcating Jammu & Kashmir into Union Terrorities, there is a buzz that the next move would be to secure the so-called Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (Pok), which is an integral part of India as per the Constitution and the map approved by it. Forces have already been deployed in the J&K and it is expected the government led by an assertive Prime Minister and aggressive Home Minister would take steps to retrieve India’s sovereign land occupied by unlawful encroachers.

 

NT Bureau