Rajya Sabha on Monday evening approved a resolution revoking the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir and passed a Bill to split the state into two Union Territories, as Home Minister Amit Shah promised to restore full statehood after normalcy is restored in the militancy-hit region. The House passed by a voice vote the resolution to abrogate Article 370 and the accompanying Article 35A ending seven decades of autonomous state government.
However, hours before that a photo of documents kept between Shah’s folded hands, as he walked into Parliament in the morning, drew a huge attention.
The photo published by news agency AFP apparently reveals the Narendra Modi government's detailed plan for the Jammu and Kashmir announcement. It included preparations under sections like - Constitutional, Political and Law and Order.
The topics on the agenda included "inform president", "cabinet meeting, "president's notification", "passage of bill in parliament", "security in Rajya Sabha" and "send home secretary to J&K".
According to the list, PM Modi is scheduled to “address the nation” on August 7. The list adds Modi will also speak to Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik as well as the chief ministers of states such as Punjab and Haryana, though it doesn’t specify a date for this.
Interestingly, the list looks so well organised that it reveals that the government is preparing for the possibility of “violent disobedience” from sections of uniformed personnel, which some have speculated may refer to the Jammu and Kashmir police, on Wednesday.
Shortly after the photo was taken, Shah announced in Parliament that a presidential decree would remove special status under Article 370 "at once" and also that Jammu and Kashmir would cease to be a state and would be reorganised into two Union territories - Jammu and Kashmir with an assembly and Ladakh without an assembly.
The bill to split the state in two UTs-- Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh -- was passed by 125 votes in favour and 61 against. One member abstained from voting while two PDP members were debarred from the day's proceedings after they tore a copy of the Constitution of India in the House to protest against the move.
While the resolution was passed by voice vote, Aam Aadmi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, YSR-Congress, TDP, BJD and AIADMK supported the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill.
TMC, which earlier in the day vehemently opposed the abrogation of Article 370, staged a walkout before Shah began to reply to the debate.
Under Article 370 of the Constitution, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed complete autonomy and the state legislature was free to draft its own laws except in the areas of communications, defence, finance, and foreign affairs. Also, Indian citizens were prohibited from purchasing land in the state.