Dear Friends,

Jammu & Kashmir is now a union territory and after seven decades plus of Article 370 making them special but alienated Kashmiri will now live like any other citizen of India and the rest of the nation will have the choice to live in the beautiful Himalayan region in their own homes . Women from the erstwhile state will have the right to marry men from outside but still retain their right to buying property in the region. And all this because the Article 370 and Article 35A have been made inoperative by the Modi government and rightly so. The party in power in Delhi has fulfilled its promise made in the election manifesto and actually walked its talk. And Ladakh too is a union territory now. The state is bifurcated but integrated with the country.

Rajya Sabha passed Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill with 125 votes in favour, 61 against and 1 member abstaining. And the events leading to it had all the trappings of a Bollywood saga. For once everyone in the nation was asking the same question-What will Modi do? And the same question was being asked across the border by Pakistan. More than 10,000 security personnel were sent to the state to combat the terror threats from across the borders , house arrest of political leaders from the Kashmir Valley, and internet was taken off the communication network at the stroke of midnight. And at 9.30 AM Prime Minister meets Home Minister, Cabinet committee on Security, NSA with Chiefs of RAW and IB.

And what happened post that is history scripted by the Modi2 government. Just the right way to take decisions once you have an absolute majority in the house. No other way would have worked with generations of political families in the state who used the Article 370 for their political gain and a ‘I will oppose for the sake of opposing’ opposition. Now both the groups have no agenda left for J&K polity.

The President of India who just returned yesterday from a trip abroad, signed the order which came into force immediately, thereby removing the biggest hurdle in the way of the progress of Kashmir. And finally after 72 years the nation has ‘ek nishan, ek vidhan and ek pradhan’.

And what the nation needs to understand is that Article 370 has niether been scrapped nor abrogated as it cannot be repealed or abrogated without a constitutional amendment in accordance with Article 368. So no such bill was moved by Amit Shah in Parliament today. Article 370 is an enabling provision. It explains which parts of the Indian Constitution have jurisdiction over Jammu and Kashmir, which adopted a separate state constitution for itself during 1950s. Section 3 of Article 370 empowers the President to decide the limit of the jurisdiction of the Indian Constitution over the state. Not all the provisions of Article 370 will now be implemented in Jammu and Kashmir. This was done through a Presidential Order, which in effect, will supercede previous Presidential Orders issued under Article 370.

Now the Indian Consitution will be hundred percent effective in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, only a set of limited provisions such as foreign relations, communication and defence had jurisdiction over Jammu and Kashmir.This means the separate constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and Ranbir Penal Code cease to be operative in the state.

And now that the status quo has changed in Jammu & Kashmir we just hope that the Kashmiri Migrants who were forced to leave the state under duress will now return to their homes and help build a progressive Kashmir.

Sangeeta Saxena

05 August 2019