The Unfolding of The Article 370 Drama

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What is article 370?
This article grants special autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir under part XXI of the Indian constitution. An example of what constitutes special includes the fact that till 1965, 18 years after Indian Independence J&K had a Sadr-e-Riyasat for governor and prime minister instead of a chief minister.
Apart from a system of governance distinct from the one followed in the entire country, separate laws are (or from today onwards) were followed in Jammu and Kashmir. From citizenship, ownership rights to something as basic as fundamental rights, the residents of Jammu and Kashmir had it a different way.
 So, it would not be startling to know that Indian citizens from other states could not even purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, the powers of the central government were very limited so much so that even decision regarding declaring emergencies or drastic steps had to be taken in concurrence with the view of the state government.

Behind the scenes 
The entry of additional troops in the valley, cancelling of the Amarnath Yatra and quick evacuation of tourists indicated that something serious was cooking. Kashmir’s home secretary, Shaleen Kabra, stated: “In the interest of safety and security of the tourists and Amarnath Yatris [pilgrims], it is advised that they may curtail their stay in the [Kashmir] valley immediately.”. These steps were the forecast of an upcoming law and order situation or a situation gone way out of hand.
When the news broke a variety of reasons were attributed to the drastic measures like learning lessons to avoid incidents like the Pulwama attack, the probability of a terrorist attack before or on the 15th of August with Amarnath Yatris and tourists being prime targets and a hint that there might be an unexpected announcement. 


The Final Act
A Union cabinet meeting on Monday morning was conducted in the presence of at the official residence of Prime Minister in New Delhi. The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was held at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) members arrived at the PM residence around 9.30 am on Monday morning with Union minister Amit Shah, NSA Ajit Doval in attendance at the high-level meeting.
The government on the 5th of August moved a resolution in the Rajya Sabha to repeal Article 370 of the Constitution which accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Union Home Minister Shah in the Rajya Sabha that Article 370 will be revoked from the day of the President's assent.  He further proposed a bill for the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir division and Ladakh.
Perhaps, in one of his most memorable statements, he remarked that Article 370 was used as "vote bank politics" and the earlier governments lacked the political will to revoke it. "But the Modi government has the political will and we are not bothered about vote bank politics,".


Audience reactions
The presidential nod to show assent became the defining moment. Tweets rolled in from across the globe in a decision that is bound to change politics in the largest democracy of the world.
The opposition in the parliament (staying true to its name) roared against the decision. Leaders like Gulam Nabi Azad called it ‘the murder of the Indian Constitution’, Mehbooba Mufti went on to say that pioneer leaders from the valley made a mistake with associating itself to India when they could have chosen Pakistan. On the other hand ex-foreign affairs minister, SM Krishna appreciated the step as a momentous decision.
The above are just some reactions, from Bollywood celebrities to the general public everybody had something to say and since it’s a democracy everybody from a state with or without a special status has a say.


The Hard truth
Amidst all the chaos, a truth that is discovered is that our constitution is called a ‘living document’ for a reason.  How could a document be considered living if it does not adapt as per the needs of the people for whom it was created? Another stark reality that one is faced with is that in our so-called ‘secular’ country states continue to be viewed as concentrations of or centres of power of a particular religion or community and not strong units of a great nation. Why do we forget that sometimes it’s just geography? 
With 46, 000 troops in what we used to call Jammu &Kashmir and the implementation of a monumental decision, the immediate future of the locals seems uncertain. But for others in the country, we need to get accustomed to the new number of states and union territories that constitute India.

- Maitreyi Mehndiratta




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The Unfolding of The Article 370 Drama The Unfolding of The Article 370 Drama Reviewed by EMN on August 06, 2019 Rating: 5

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