Article 370 scrapped, J&K and Ladakh to be separate Union Territories

NEW DELHI: Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday moved a resolution in Rajya Sabha to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution that extends special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The government, which listed four bills and legislative proposals before the Rajya Sabha, intends to get the resolution passed by the end of day.

As Shah read out the details of the proposal, opposition leaders tried to disrupt the proceedings but did not get far. Amit Shah, who also leads the Bharatiya Janata Party, continued to read out his other proposals.

Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi sought to reprimand the opposition. “Amit Shah is rectifying the historical blunder of Jawaharlal Nehru,” Joshi told the opposition benches aboutthe resolution that had been on the agenda of the ruling BJP for years.

Regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir have called attempts to abrogate Article 370 an aggression against the people.

Home Minister Amit Shah said he would also speak about the situation in Kashmir which has been put under a security lockdown by the administration. Movement of several political leaders such as former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been restricted by the administration which has also severely curtailed movement of public.

The communication network in the Valley – mobile, fixed line and internet – has been shut down and key officials given satellite phones to stay in touch.

“As per the order, there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed. There will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order,” the administration said late on Sunday night.

It insisted that reports that curfew had been imposed in Srinagar weren’t true but indicated that people couldn’t move out without permission. “Identity cards of essential services officials will be treated as movement passes wherever required,” the state said.

Amit Shah’s statement in Parliament, first in the Rajya Sabha and later in the Lok Sabha, came after meetings of the Union Cabinet and the government’s top-decision making body on security matters, the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A government spokesperson did not brief reporters about the decisions taken by the Union Cabinet. But sources hinted that it could have something about the special provisions relating to Jammu and Kashmir.

The ruling BJP has already issued a three-line whip ordering all its members to be present in the Parliament between 5 and 7 August. “All members of the Lok Sabha are informed that some very important business will be taken up for business will be taken up for discussion and passing between 5th August and 7th August 2019,” the whip, accessed by HT, said.

Regional parties in J&K such as the National Conference and the Peoples’ Democratic Party have accused the administration of creating disquiet and resolved to fight any attempt to abrogate the constitutional provisions that guarantee Jammu and Kashmir special status.

The parties also appealed to India and Pakistan not to take any steps that will escalate tension in the region.

“We had made an effort to tell the people of this country and the government about the consequences if they toy with Articles 35A and 370 (of the Constitution). We made an appeal too, but no assurance has been given yet from the Centre. They are not bothered to say anything, to say that everything will be alright,” Mehbooba Mufti said after an all party meeting in the Valley on Sunday.