Congress urged to send fact-finding mission as Jammu & Kashmir state is formally broken up

indica News Bureau-


India’s home ministry issued a formal notification Wednesday on the “reorganization” of the state of Jammu & Kashmir into the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir and the Union territory of Ladakh.

References in any form in laws or rules to the government of Jammu and Kashmir, except where it is expressly provided otherwise, shall be construed as references to the government of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir or the administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh, the notification said.

The notification, dated Oct 30, said certain central laws and rules which were applicable to the existing state of Jammu & Kashmir would now apply to both Union territories.

The ministry said the “state legislature, including the legislative council of the state” has been abolished and shall from now be construed as the legislative assembly of the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

The ministry also said that all provisions of the Constitution as amended from time to time have become applicable to the existing Jammu & Kashmir with effect from Aug 5 and any notification issued or order, rule or appointment made during the period between Aug 5 and Oct 31 are “to be protected, as if such actions have been taken in accordance with law”.

References in state laws that have been applied to ‘permanent residents’ or ‘hereditary state subjects’ are now omitted.

In Washington, a New York-based Indian-American attorney urged US lawmakers to schedule a bipartisan fact-finding mission to the region.

In supplemental testimony submitted to the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday, the day a team of European Union parliamentarians landed in Srinagar, Ravi Batra urged lawmakers to “schedule a bipartisan congressional fact-finding mission to Kashmir”.

The delegation of 23 MPs from the European Union arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to assess the situation in Jammu & Kashmir after the Narendra Modi administration revoked its special status Aug 5.

Batra suggested the US fact-finding team include “Americans whose ancestry can add an honest and objective nuance—as that will serve to reassure every member’s constituents and aid in hastening the lifting of all restrictions, other than those based upon credible intel of clear and present danger to India or visitors”.

Following the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution of India, various restrictions, including a ban on mobile phones and the internet, were imposed in Jammu & Kashmir.

The restrictions, proclaimed to be for a few days, have remained in place for the better part of three months and are only now being lifted in phases.

In his submission, Batra said that since 9/11, eradicating terror across the globe had become America’s “job number 1”. “This, however, has created a need to deal with unsavory characters and nations… we need to push for human rights, subject only to achieving our necessary predicate: a terror-free world,” he said.

Batra, who chairs the National Advisory Council for South Asian Affairs, last week testified before the subcommittee on ‘Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region’.