Revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir

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On 5 August 2019, the Government of India revoked the special status, or limited autonomy, granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir.


  • It is indeed creditable that the government has ensured that all this has been achieved within a span of 12 months. For the first time after seven decades, the Indian Constitution and all the 890 Central laws are fully applicable to J&K....
    The question we need to ask is why the leadership of the Congress, Left parties and the state parties did not allow such crucial laws which protect the Dalits and other disadvantaged groups to be implemented in the erstwhile state for all these years. Another discriminatory legal provision, which prevented women in J&K from retaining their rights if they married outside the state, has been put to an end... Apart from these initiatives, the last 12 months have seen several other momentous developments. The first of these is the rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandits, who were hounded out of the Valley 30 years ago by militants. The ethnic cleansing of nearly four lakh Kashmiris belonging to the Hindu minority remained a blot on India’s secular credentials. In the year gone by, 4,000 of them have got jobs in the UT and many others are listed for employment. Also, over 20,000 refugees from West Pakistan, who were treated as aliens in their own country and denied all rights, have been given domicile rights and financial assistance of Rs 5.50 lakh per family.
  • One year ago, the CPM described the abrogation as “an attack on democracy, secularism and the Constitution”. Equally amusing was the statement of the Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi that “the nation is made by its people, not plots of land”. Really? If so, are not the Kashmiri Pandits, Dalits, tribal folk, municipal workers, people?
    As one sees the fundamental changes brought about in the two UTs, they remind us of the monstrous failure of the Congress leadership which lacked the courage and confidence to correct these wrongs and hence chose to tout pusillanimity as an act of great statesmanship. As a result, J&K slipped away from the liberal, secular and democratic traditions that India stood for. But that is now a thing of the past. It is now time to celebrate the new beginning.
  • The question, however, is whether Modi had any choice in Kashmir and whether, over time, the revocation of an article conceived as temporary breaks the Kashmiri logjam, pries open the stranglehold of corrupt local elites and offers a better future. I think it might. .... “We revoked a temporary constitutional provision that slowed down development, created alienation, led to separatism, fed terrorism and ended up as a deadly national security problem,” Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the external affairs minister of India, told me. “We know the last 70 years did not work in Kashmir. It has bled us. It would be Einsteinian insanity to do the same thing and expect a different result.”... Modi will not turn back from his elimination of Kashmir’s autonomy. That phase of Indian history is over. Trump and Modi are both forceful, media-savvy politicians. But they are not alike. Modi, a self-made man from a poor family, is measured, ascetic, not driven by impulse. Trump was born on third base. He’s erratic, guided by the devouring needs of his ego. I’d bet on Modi to transform India, all of it, including the newly integrated Kashmir region.
    • Roger Cohen, Don’t Mess With Modi in Texas , NYT, Sept. 22, 2019 [1]
  • Most countries have a UCC as a matter of course. But would they support India if it introduces the same thing? Compare with the normalisation of Kashmir's status in 2019. Save for Pakistan, all countries accepted this without any ado. Not only was it an internal matter, but it abolished something that they themselves would never accept either: a separate status for one of their provinces, excluding their citizens from owning property there. Yet, the international media still portrayed it as an anti-Muslim act of oppression, adding to their usual narrative of poor hapless Muslims being constantly persecuted by the ugly vicious Hindus. The issue was not important enough for swaying governments against India, but regarding UCC this may be different. It is likely that both Indian and foreign media will raise a storm if the separate Islamic law is threatened; and that the ruling party is not ready to take this heat.
    • Elst, K. [2] 2022