New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government on Monday moved a bill proposing a division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir division and Ladakh. Making the announcement in Rajya Sabha, Union Home Minister Amit 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.
Readers must note that this move does not amount to a trifurcation of the State. The creation of a new State, carving it out from an existing one, is a different process as observed during the formation of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh out of Punjab, Bihar out of West Bengal, Uttarakhand out of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand out of Bihar, Chhattisgarh out of Madhya Pradesh, Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh, etc.
Modi govt turns separatist clauses of Article 370 defunct
Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday moved a resolution in Rajya Sabha that clauses of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, will not be applicable in the State. Making a statement, Shah said this will come into effect when the President gives his assent and the central government notifies it.
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Opposition opposes national integration bid of Modi govt
Opposition parties on Monday created ruckus in Lok Sabha as they raised concerns about the Kashmir situation even as the House continued to transact business.
Members from Congress, DMK, National Conference and RSP were in the Well shouting slogans and demanding a reply from the government on the Kashmir situation.
Amid the din, the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill and The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill were introduced. Besides, the House took up a discussion on The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill.
Opposition members continued with their sloganeering for more than an hour in the Lower House.
Martyrdom of Mookerjee honoured: Ram Madhav
BJP leader Ram Madhav on Monday hailed the Modi government’s decision on Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and said the martyrdom of its ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee for complete integration of the state into India has been “honoured”. The national general secretary and the party’s point person in the state said that the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir was a longstanding demand of the nation.
“What a glorious day. Finally, the martyrdom of thousands starting with Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee for complete integration of J&K into Indian Union is being honoured and the seven-decade-old demand of the entire nation being realised in front of our eyes; in our lifetime. Ever imagined?” he tweeted moments after Home Minister Amit Shah made the announcement in Parliament.
What a glorious day. Finally d martyrdom of thousands starting with Dr Shyam Prasad Mukharjee for compete integration of J&K into Indian Union is being honoured and d seven decade old demand of d entire nation being realised in front of our eyes; in our life time.Ever imagined?🙏
— Ram Madhav (@rammadhavbjp) August 5, 2019
While speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Shah moved a resolution that all clauses of Article 370 will not be applicable to the state.
“PM @narendramodi ji ne kamaal kar diya. Desh ki ummeedon pe khare utre. Many many congrats to @narendramodi ji and @AmitShah ji on this historic decision regarding #Article370. This has opened up the path of growth and development for #JammuAndKashmir,” tweeted party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain.
PM @narendramodi ji ne kamaal kar diya. Desh ki ummeedon pe khare utre. Many many congrats to @narendramodi ji and @AmitShah ji on this historic decision regarding #Article370 . This has opened up the path of growth and development for #JammuAndKashmir
— Syed Shahnawaz Hussain (@ShahnawazBJP) August 5, 2019
After Modi govt move, Sena trains guns at Mehbooba
BJP ally Shiv Sena on Monday demanded former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti be booked under the newly-amended anti-terror law for using “terrorism language” against opponents of Article 35 A, which grants special rights to the permanent residents of Kashmir.
In an editorial published in its Marathi mouthpiece Saamana, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party also supported the Modi government’s move to curtail the annual Amarnath Yatra.
“(Mehbooba) Mufti had said that hands of those who would touch the article 35 A should be burned (and that) the Kashmiri people should be ready for sacrifice.
“The Home Minister of the country should not entertain such language of instigation and rebellion. It is the language of terrorism. She (Mufti) should be sent to jail under the new UAPA…If not done, their conspiracy to trigger riots in Kashmir will succeed,” Sena said.
The new amendment to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act empowers the Central government to designate an individual as terrorist and seize his properties. The amendment was approved by Parliament on August 2.
“Cutting short of the Amarnath Yatra may invite some criticism but sometimes you need to take a step back to go four steps ahead,” the edit said.
The Modi government had curtailed the pilgrimage in the Himalayan state citing terror threat to pilgrims.
On the security build-up in J&K, the Sena said, “the way the Union government has deployed armed forces in Kashmir, and if they intend to take action against terrorism, then one should give up the hope of resolving the Kashmir issue through dialogue. The Centre should go ahead with its plan without any doubts”.
A monumental decision towards national integration: Jaitley
New Delhi, Aug 5 (PTI) BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Monday said the government’s move on Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir is a monumental decision towards national integration.
Asserting that separate status led to separatism, he said in a blog that no dynamic nation could allow this situation to continue.
Complimenting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, he said, “A historical wrong has been undone today. Article 35A came through the back door without following the procedure under Article 368 of the Constitution of India. It had to go.”
“The decision of the government will help the people of Jammu and Kashmir the most. More investment, more industry, more private educational institutions, more jobs and more revenue will come,” he said, adding that Kashmir’s regional leaders now feel they would not be able to whip up the fake issue of ‘sentiment versus benefit’.
What is Article 370?
Soon after India and Pakistan became separate nation-states, Pakistan attacked India with the help of a bunch of tirbal people backed heavily by its regular Army. Since the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir headed by Maharaja Hari Singh did not have the resources to fight Pakistan Army, he sought India’s help. At that point of time, more than 600 princely states were in the process of getting integrated into India, led by the efforts of then Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel. The first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru took up the responsibility of trying to integrate Kashmir.
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, an article that gives special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, was offered as a formula of truce in collaboration with Sheikh Abdullah, as Nehru believed the provincial situation could otherwise not be handled. The article is drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution: Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions. The Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, after its establishment, was empowered to recommend the articles of the Indian constitution that should be applied to the state or to abrogate the Article 370 altogether.
The State of Jammu & Kashmir’s original accession, like all other princely states, was on three matters: defence, foreign affairs and communications. All the princely states were invited to send representatives to India’s Constituent Assembly, which was formulating a Constitution for the whole of India. They were also encouraged to set up Constituent Assemblies for their own States.
Most States were unable to set up Assemblies in time, but a few States did, in particular Saurashtra Union, Travancore-Cochin and Mysore. Even though the States Department developed a model constitution for the States, in May 1949, the rulers and chief ministers of all the States met and agreed that separate Constitutions for the States were not necessary. They accepted the Constitution of India as their own Constitution.
The States that did elect Constituent Assemblies suggested a few amendments, which were accepted. The position of all the States (or unions of states) thus became equivalent to that of regular Indian provinces. In particular, this meant that the subjects available for legislation by the central and State governments was uniform across India.
In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the representatives to the Constituent Assembly requested that only those provisions of the Indian Constitution that corresponded to the original Instrument of Accession should be applied to the State. Accordingly, the Article 370 was incorporated into the Indian Constitution, which stipulated that the other articles of the Constitution that gave powers to the Central Government would be applied to Jammu and Kashmir only with the concurrence of the State’s Constituent Assembly.
This was a temporary provision in that its applicability was intended to last till the formulation and adoption of the State’s Constitution. However, the State’s Constituent Assembly dissolved itself on 25 January 1957 without recommending either abrogation or amendment of Article 370. Thus, the Article was believed to have become a permanent feature of the Indian Constitution on the basis of a technicality, to which the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir lent further legitimacy.
Why Article 370 is a problem
- It exempted the State from the complete applicability of the Constitution of India. The State was allowed to have its own Constitution.
- Central legislative powers over the State were limited, at the time of framing, to the three subjects of defence, foreign affairs and communications.
- Other constitutional powers of the Central Government could be extended to the State only with the concurrence of the State Government.
- The ‘concurrence’ was only provisional. It had to be ratified by the State’s Constituent Assembly.
- The State Government’s authority to give ‘concurrence’ lasted only until the State Constituent Assembly was convened. Once the State Constituent Assembly finalised the scheme of powers and dispersed, no further extension of powers was possible.
- Article 370 could be abrogated or amended only upon the recommendation of the State’s Constituent Assembly.