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Abrogation of Article 370: Milestones and challenges

The abrogation has changed India’s political map, with Parliament, Government of India and Indian Constitution getting full jurisdiction over the region.

Rahul Anand

In year 2020, August 5 has become the historical date after Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan in Ayodhya. Last year, on the same date, home minister Amit Shah announced the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A in Parliament, dividing the state of Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories. Shah had then said: I would like to assure you the removal of (Articles) 370 and 35 (A) has paved the way for Kashmir's development. And with this, terrorists in Kashmir have started counting their final days." In an interview Shah said: "Congress leaders said in Parliament there will be bloodshed. I would like to tell them, nothing has happened. Neither a bullet has been fired, nor a death reported. Kashmir is peacefully on its path to development."

A year later, Section 144 was promulgated on August 4 in the wake of the COVID-19 and to prevent observation of ‘Black Day’ as planned by some extremists. Precautions were also being observed in the backdrop of the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan. This historic division of the state into two UTs was formalised by President Ram Nath Kovind last year by signing a Presidential Order to scrap Article 370. The abrogation was proposed in the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, which passed by both the houses of Parliament and after receiving presidential acceptance it became an Act on August 9, 2019.

Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state in pre-Independence India. But after Partition and Independence of India, Maharaja Harisingh of Jammu and Kashmir decided to merge the state with India. He took this decision after the invasion of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-backed tribals. Due to external and internal circumstances, Article 370 was forced to place in the Indian Constitution. Still the conditions did not change. Due to this, Kashmir has been suffering from extremism and violence for a long time. It served to widen the gap between Kashmir and other states. Due to Article 370, India's security challenges from neighbours like Pakistan and China become more complicated.

What changed on Aug 5, 2019

The abrogation has changed India’s political map, with Parliament, Government of India and Indian Constitution getting full jurisdiction over the region.

1. State laws were scrapped and both UTs got lieutenant-governors since the division came into effect on 31 October.

2. Jammu & Kashmir was turned into a UT with A legislative (along the lines of Puducherry and Delhi NCR).

3. Ladakh remained a UT under central rule.

4. After the removal of Article 35A, a new domicile law was introduced last year in these regions.

What is different a year after abrogation

The kind of change that was expected in development, infrastructure, corruption, employment opportunities, quality of life, etc. is still to appear in a big way. Other challenges like Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, extremism, proxy war and internet ban in the state also persist. Since the repeal of the special provisions of the state, normal life has been affected by the curfew imposed there. The problems of normal life were further complicated by Corona virus. Challenges exist on the economic front too, stalling tourism and severely affecting apple cultivation in horticulture, which contributes 8 per cent to the state's gross domestic product. Being a border state, it is also a challenge to deal with external factors.

The abolition of Article 370 has definitely opened up new possibilities for the state. To reap dividends, the government needs to make concerted efforts. Investors should be attracted, infrastructure of the state should be strengthened to ease investment and tourism, administration should be reformed and overhauled, education system should be upgraded and improved, efforts should be made to facilitate women's education, and enhance employment.

The Government of India has an opportunity to ensure peace and development in areas affected by terrorism and extremism. The residents of the state need to be freed from the atmosphere of fear and assured that the change will help in improving their future. The Gandhian path of non-violence and peace must be adopted to ensure lasting harmony in Kashmir.

(Rahul Anand is an Intern with Academics4Nation. He is a student of journalism at Benaras Hindu University)



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