The Narendra Modi government on Monday scrapped part of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also moved a resolution in the Lok Sabha for bringing a bill to reorganise the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh amid a walkout by opposition parties.
The unprecedented move, which is likely to spark unrest in the Valley, was announced by the Centre after a mid-night crackdown on Sunday. The government placed several prominent leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, under house arrest. All communications were severed and curfew-like restrictions were imposed.
However, the Article 370 has not been completely scrapped from Kashmir and one clause of it still remains. The clause (1) of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which gives several powers to the President will continue to exist. The clause (1) of the Article 370 gives the President powers to make “Exceptions and Amendments” in the Constitution for the benefit of the “State Subjects” of Jammu and Kashmir.
With the abrogation of parts of Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir will now have no separate flag or Constitution and the tenure of the Assembly will be for a period of five years like any other state and two union territories in the country, officials said on Monday.
The Indian Penal Code (IPC) will replace the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) to deal with criminal matters and Article 356, under which President's rule can be imposed in any state, will also be applicable in union territories (UTs) Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh with the unprecedented decision of the Centre.
There will be no separate flag of Jammu and Kashmir and the Tricolour will be the only national flag for the entire country, a Home Ministry official said. There will be no separate Constitution for Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Constitution will govern the two union territories to be created.
The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly will have a tenure of five years like all the states and UTs of Delhi and Puducherry. Till now, the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly had a tenure of six years.
(With inputs from agencies)