Congratulations to all Indian nationalists who are celebrating this historic day when history has finally been corrected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah of BJP.
We welcome the decision of the President of India for revoking condition #3 within Article 370.
By making the new areas of Jammu & Kashmir a Union Territory, the constituent Assembly has been revoked.
Jammu and Kashmir were given special status under Article 370 of the constitution of India which gave it, its own constitution, and without the concurrence of the State Government, the laws passed by parliament would not have been applicable. The Constitution order of 1954 contained the articles and other provisions applicable to only Jammu and Kashmir State. It constituted a founding legal document, whereas article 35A protected the exclusive laws which are related to the prohibition of buying property by outsiders and women, losing their property rights if they married non-Kashmiris.
In short, Article 370 restricted the Indian Parliament’s legislative power over Jammu and Kashmir to defense, foreign affairs, and communications, allowing residents of Jammu and Kashmir to live under a separate set of laws and preventing them from enjoying the same rights as other Indian citizens. Similarly, Article 35A defined who were permanent residents of the state and determined who could buy property in the state and enjoy other special rights and privileges.
President of India’s order # 2019, C.O. 272 dated August 5, 2019, entails scrapping previous order # 1954 and adds the following to article # 367:
- Sadar-i-riyasat will now be Governor
- Constituent Assembly will now be referred to as Legislative Assembly of the State.
Article 356 of the Indian Constitution is now applicable in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, by which Presidents rule surpasses the Governor’s rule, which can be imposed in these areas.
We also welcome Bifurcation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, giving Jammu and Kashmir the status of Union Territory and giving Ladakh the status of a Union Territory as well.
Article 370 removal has made the following changes for the areas of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh:
- No special powers exercised by Jammu and Kashmir.
- No dual citizenship.
- No separate constitution.
- No separate flag, tricolor will be the only flag.
- No special status to the areas of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. By making the areas of Jammu & Kashmir and the area of Ladakh, two separate union territories the special status has been revoked.
- RTI and RTE is now applicable in the areas of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh.
- Reservations for minority & backward classes.
- Any citizen of India can now buy land, make investments, and settle in the areas of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh.
- State jobs are open to all
- No discrimination against the women of the Kashmir when they marry someone from outside of the state.
- All Citizens of these areas will be considered equal.
- All provisions of the Indian constitution is now applicable in these areas.
- With Union territory status, the security is now the Center’s responsibility.
Jammu and Kashmir is now a union territory! Special status has been dismantled.
We knew all along that all the issues in the Kashmir Valley will be resolved if Article 370, which provides special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir is abolished. Now, discrimination based on demography has been eradicated. Kashmir has been integrated with India.
Kashmir’s first imperial history began in 250 BC when Asoka reigned over the land.
Nearly 1000 years later, Lalitaditya reigned (725-761) after conquering most of north India, Central Asia, and Tibet.
Islam entered Kashmir nearly 700 years after its birth when Kashmir came into contact with the Muslim invaders. Islam had been spreading throughout the rest of India for 300 years.
Kashmir’s history, after the arrival of Islam, sets the backdrop for the current conflict, which has been waging ever since India won its independence from Britain in 1947 and Pakistan became an independent Muslim state.
It is important to note that the state of Jammu and Kashmir had a Muslim population of 65% and a Hindu population of30%. So, the Muslim population is not overwhelmingly high. It is in the Kashmir Valley (often called the Vale Of Kashmir) that the Muslim the population is 97%. Often, the people following the Kashmir problem are ignorant of these demographics. Wars have broken out between these two countries three times, in 1947-48, 1965, and 1989. An alarming component of this conflict is not only the suffering of Kashmiris, who have been forced to endure the outbreaks and Pakistan’s attempts at stirring up ancient rivalries between Muslims and Hindus, but the fact that in 1990 and 2001-2002, the two countries threatened to use nuclear weapons over it.
Not only has the Kashmir the problem has been solved but it also vindicates all Kashmiris of all faiths, some of who lost their lives due to turbulence and some, like Kashmiri Pandits, who had lost their roots completely.
Now is the time for healing, as all Kashmiris come together as Indian nationals and work toward making Kashmir the valley of saints once again.
[California based Jeevan Zutshi, is the Chairman of Kashmir Task Force, and founding member Indo-American Kashmir Forum. The views expressed are his own]