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ARTICLE 370: Abrogation and Implications

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. It is a province located in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. India administered J&K as a state from 1954 to 31 October 2019, conferring it to have a separate constitution, a state flag, and autonomy over the state’s internal administration.

 Background of Article 370

Before 1947 Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state under British colonialism. After the sub-continent became independent, to decide which nation the princely states wanted to join a plebiscite took place. All the small provinces joined the Indian Union or Pakistan. But the ruler of Kashmir, Hari Singh, decided not to enter in either of the countries. Pakistan wanted Kashmir to join them because it was a Muslim majority province. For that, they instigated their tribal raiders and launched a vicious military attack on the state. Then Hari Singh approached Nehru for help, and he refused to help an independent state. Left with no other option, he chose to join in Indian Union and signed the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947.

After lengthy discussions and deliberations, it got the conclusion with the 1952 Delhi Agreement, whereby the governments of the State and the Union agreed that Indian citizenship would be extended to all the residents of the state, but the state would be empowered to legislate over the rights and privileges of the state subjects, who would now be called permanent residents.

Under this agreement, there had been laws preventing any outsider from acquiring or holding land in Kashmir. Article 370 was included in Part XXI of the Indian Constitution titled “Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions” . It stated that the, Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir would be empowered to recommend the extent to which the Indian Constitution would apply to the state. The state assembly could also abrogate Article 370 altogether, in which case all of the Indian Constitution would have applied to the state.

Current Scenario

Kashmir had been a subject of dispute since 1947 among the neighboring countries India, Pakistan, and partly China. It caused a state of perpetual unrest in the country and always faced the heat of extremism and terrorism. The border of the country always was under the threat of war at any time. In order to attain complete sovereignty in any country, a single constitution should bind it.

During the 2014 general election, as part of the Bhartiya Janata Party manifesto, the party pledged to integrate Jammu and Kashmir’s state into the Union of India. After winning the elections, the party made attempts along with its parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh  (RSS), for the abrogation of Article 370. But the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir ruled that Article 370 cannot be “abrogated, repealed or even amended. ” In 2019, Supreme Court of India also ruled that Article 370 has a permanent status and cannot be abrogated.

Again in the 2019 general election, BJP comes up with the pledge to integrate Jammu & Kashmir with India. On 5 August 2019, the Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Re-organization Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha to convert Jammu and Kashmir’s status of a state to two separate union territories, namely Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. And Lok Sabha also passed it . Thus, the bill became an act, and the President signed it. He issued an order stating that he will rule Jammu and Kashmir’s union territory directly until the legislative assembly is constituted.

Effect of Abrogation of Article 370

After the abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir will no longer have a separate constitution but will have to abide by the Indian Constitution like any other Indian state.

All Indian laws will automatically applied to Kashmiris, and people from outside the state will be able to buy property there. The government promises to bring development to the region. The natives also seem to have a sense of satisfaction with the current status. And they also can enjoy an everyday life where there is no fear of terrorism and war. We all are aware how the terrorists use the Kashmir valley for their own diabolical plans. Due to unemployment the youth in this area become trapped in the shingles of terrorism against their own country. Hence, we can expect the conditions regarding this to get better after the abrogation.

Present

It has been over a year since the effective abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, and Jammu and Kashmir’s administrative re-organization has happened. This decision was path-breaking, bold, and a much-needed one.  J & K was the center of proxy war against Pakistan, and the whole country always suffered a lot. Now it is high time that this geographically important area needs to be brought into the main frame. 

Intellectuals highly criticize the way in which the abrogation of Article 370 took place. There was a ban on Internet, limiting the Fundamental Rights of the citizens of J & K. Many of the senior political actors of the state were under house arrest. It should be kept in mind that the government did this to avoid any kind of violent insurgence by foreign actors.

Finally, it is now One Nation One Constitution. This will bring out a feeling of unity and safety among all citizens of India. It will open doors for private sectors to invest in J&K. This will boost the economy of the state, thereby the country as a whole.

The people of this state will have a scope of other job opportunities apart from the tourism industry. The center will be able to provide better medical and educational facilities to citizens of J&K. The central government can initiate appropriate measures to control corruption and illegal activities. Authorities will be better in a position to curb terrorism and internal conflicts and bring the citizens to the mainframe. When the state gets into the path of growth and development, the youth will automatically get out of the grip of terrorist outfits. They also will require an atmosphere of peace and tranquility for a better life.

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