‘Ek Vidhaan, Ek Pradhaan, Ek Nishaan’ slogan implemented after 66 years
* J&K UT to have Legislature * Spl status fueled separatism: Shah * All Central laws to apply
JAMMU, Aug 5: In a bold decision aimed at tackling head-on the vexed 72-year old Kashmir problem, Narendra Modi Government today re-wrote history of Jammu and Kashmir by ending its special status which the State enjoyed in the form of Articles 370 and 35-A and proposed re-organization of Jammu and Kashmir by bifurcating the State into two Union Territories-one the J&K with Legislature like New Delhi and Puducherry and another Ladakh without Legislature like five other UTs in the country.
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After hectic day-long debate, the Rajya Sabha late this evening approved the Resolution proposing revocation of Article 370 and a Bill to split the State into two Union Territories.
President Ram Nath Kovind this morning issued a notification titled `The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019′ scrapping Article 370, which had been applied to Jammu and Kashmir in 1949 as a temporary provision. The abrogation of Article 370 automatically rendered Article 35-A null and void, which had been incorporated by a Presidential order in 1954.
The Resolution abrogating Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and J&K Reorganization Bill proposing two UTs for J&K and Ladakh, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha this morning by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in the evening, where it will be taken up for debate and passing tomorrow and after the President’s assent, it will become a law.
Unprecedented in its political courage, the decision to take away the State’s special status and treat it like any other State in the country is aimed at ending the decades old separatist movement. According to the resolution, Article 370 ceases to be operative from Monday itself.
“The President on the recommendation of Parliament is pleased to declare as from 5th of August 2019, all clauses of the said Article 370 shall cease to be operative… ,” the resolution stated.
“All the provisions of the Constitution of India, as amended from time to time, will now apply to Jammu and Kashmir. The State’s separate Constitution, which gave it powers to make own legislations has ended. Separate flag of the State also goes,” official sources said, adding the long pending demand of the BJP for implementation of its much coined slogan ‘Ek Vidhaan, Ek Pradhaan and Ek Nishaan’ (one Constitution, one head and one symbol) has been implemented 66 years after the martyrdom of RSS ideologue Shyama Prasad Mukherjee for the same purpose, in Kashmir.
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, defense, finance, and foreign affairs. Also, Indian citizens were prohibited from purchasing land in the State, as per the provisions of Article 35-A.
“Articles 370 was abrogated by the Presidential order which also led to scrapping of Article 35-A,” sources said but added that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will become Union Territories once the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019, which cleared the Rajya Sabha hurdle this evening with 125 votes in favour and 61 against, is approved by the Lok Sabha tomorrow and assented by the President.
With abrogation of Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir is as much part of India as all other States while West Pakistani refugees and Valmikis, who had been denied state subject right even after 72 years of settlement in the State, will be equal stakeholders now.
“There will be no separate Constitution, no separate flag, no permission will be required to set up industry and non-locals will be eligible to apply for jobs in the UTs unless the administration imposes a cap,” sources said.
As per the J&K Re-organization Bill, Jammu and Kashmir divisions will form one Union Territory named J&K, which will have the Legislature while Ladakh division comprising Leh and Kargil districts will be another Union Territory but without Legislature like Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Andaman & Nicobar. There are 29 States in the country, whose number will come down to 28 while number of UTs will go up from 7 to 9.
Sources said all Central legislations, which were applicable to other States but not to Jammu and Kashmir due to Article 370, would now apply to J&K and Ladakh as the Union Territories.
They added that soon after J&K Reorganization Bill comes into forces and J&K and Ladakh are declared as UTs, the process for fresh delimitation will be carried out by setting up a Delimitation Commission.
Ladakh Union Territory, which was a long pending demand of the people of Leh district and was also part of the BJP’s election manifesto, will not have the Legislature as the region had only four Assembly seats, two of which were based on less than 25,000 votes. However, Leh and Kargil districts will continue to have Autonomous Councils, Municipalities and Panchayats.
It may be mentioned here that law and order of the UTs is directly controlled by the Central Government and Jammu and Kashmir Police will come under control of the Union Home Ministry. The UT Administration will have to frame the rules for the services of State cadre and other officers as number of employees from Ladakh are posted in Jammu and Kashmir divisions and vice versa.
Following declaration of Ladakh as UT, it could get more administrative units as presently it has only two districts of Leh and Kargil.
Sources pointed out that once Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are declared Union Territories, the President’s Rule imposed in Jammu and Kashmir will be over and the UTs will come directly under the Central rule governed by the Lt Governor.
Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind in “concurrence” with the “Jammu and Kashmir Government” promulgated Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 on Monday which states that provisions of the Indian Constitution are applicable in the State.
The President issued Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 which comes into force “at once”, and shall “supersede the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954”.
“All the provisions of the Constitution” shall apply in relation to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, it said.
The Government has added in the Article 367 of the Constitution a clause 4 which makes four changes.
“Reference to this Constitution or to the provisions thereof shall be construed as references to the Constitution or the provisions thereof as applied in relations to Jammu and Kashmir,” it said.
The order said references to the person for the time being recognized by the President on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly of the State as the Sadar-i-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir, acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers of the State for the time being in office, shall be construed as references to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
References to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir shall be construed as including references to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of his Council of Ministers, it said.
In proviso to clause (3) of Article 370 of this Constitution, the expression “Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in clause (2)” shall read “Legislative Assembly of the State”, it said.
The bill to split the state in two UTs 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 Reorganization Bill.
TMC, which earlier in the day vehemently opposed the abrogation of Article 370, staged a walkout when Shah began to reply to the debate.
Allaying opposition fears of all hell breaking loose after the move, Shah replied, “nothing will happen” and the region won’t be allowed to turn into another battle-torn Kosovo.
“It was heaven on earth and will remain so,” he said replying to the debate on the resolution and the bill which were taken up together.
He said full statehood will be restored to Jammu and Kashmir at an “appropriate time” and after “normalcy” returns.
Shah said there is no need for a Constitutional amendment and the President has already signed an executive order to abrogate Article 370.
“I want to assure the members that as soon as things become normal in the State… when the appropriate time comes, we will again restore its statehood. We don’t have a problem with that,” he said.
He repeatedly attacked the Congress for raising a bogey and said, “Give us five years, and we will make Jammu and Kashmir the country’s most developed state.”
“I want to tell the youth of Kashmir valley that have faith in Narendra Modi Government. Nothing negative will happen. All these (opposition) people are telling you lie for their own politics. Don’t listen to them. I want to tell through this House that things will turn for better in the next five years, then you will come to know that Article 370 was not right,” Shah said.
Blaming Article 370 for the separatist movement in the state, he said terrorism cannot be eliminated in J-K until Article 370 and 35A are in existence. Because of the special constitutional status, the right to education could not be implemented in the State, he said.
Also, political reservation for OBCs and Dalits could not be implemented, healthcare is in a mess as no hospitals could be set up because of the rule prohibiting purchase of land by outsiders. The same was also the reason for no industry being set up, leading to unemployment, the Home Minister said.
The two Articles of the Constitution have hindered development and bred corruption, he said adding the rule of three families in the State in the last 70 years did not allow democracy to percolate.
Shah said Article 370 ruined Jammu and Kashmir and is responsible for poverty in the State. This was despite the fact that Rs 14,255 per capita were being allocated to J&K as against Rs 3,681 per capita national average.
Tourism did not develop in the State because of restrictions on the purchase of land for outsiders, he said adding no industry can be set up in J&K because of Article 370.
Article 370 was a temporary provision, he said and asked how long it can be allowed to continue.
Rajya Sabha also approved the bill to extend 10 pc reservations to economically weaker sections in the State as well as the resolution on abrogating Article 370 by voice vote.
Shah said the decision to abrogate Article 370 ensures that there will be no “do nishan, do samvidhan” (two flags, two constitutions) in Jammu and Kashmir..
“Kashmir has always been an integral part of India but this decision will ensure that there is no more “Do Nishan-Do Samvidhan” in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said on twitter.
“This decision is a tribute to all the patriots who made the supreme sacrifice for a united India. Congratulations to the entire nation. Today, Modi Govt has corrected a long overdue historic wrong,” he tweeted.
He congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “his unwavering commitment towards ensuring unity and integrity of our motherland”.
This historic decision will usher in a new dawn of peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir and the Ladakh region, the Home Minister said.
Regional parties like BSP, BJD, TRS, AAP and AIADMK extended full support to the Resolution and the bill while NDA constituent JD(U) walked out.
PTI adds: Derek O Brien of the Trinamool Congress described it as “Black Monday” and a dark day for the country’s constitution, the idea of India, and the Rajya Sabha.
Opposing it, Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD said the (abolition of) Article 370 was not possible to execute in this lifetime.
Today we have opened the gates for Kashmir to turn into Palestine in five years, Jha alleged.
He read out from letters purportedly written by political leader Jai Prakash Narayan to former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru on Kashmir earlier.
“We have seen earlier narratives end. I appeal to you with folded hands, sacrifice arrogance, embrace Kashmiris, then Kashmir will embrace you on its own. You separated it, that makes me sad,” Jha said.
Tiruchi Siva of the DMK said the move was unconstitutional as the Constitution says that only the Assembly of the state should decide on such crucial issues.
The architects of the Constitution had given powers in this regard only to the state Assembly and the Central government has made this move when the elected Assembly is not in place, Siva said.
“MNCs (multinationals) would take over and it won’t be the land of Kashmiris anymore,” he claimed.
Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar of the TDP congratulated the government on introducing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill.
Opposing the resolution, T K Rangarajan (CPI-M) said the government did not consult people of Jammu and Kashmir on the issue while alleging that the RSS-BJP was destroying the Constitution of India and unity in the country.
“You dissolved the assembly in J&K and President rule was imposed. Tomorrow, you can bifurcate any state. Constitution of India is in danger,” he said adding that his party is sympathetic to the people of J&K.
Assering that the bill should be rejected lock stock and barrel, Vaiko (MDMK)said he feared that scrapping of A370 would lead to Kashmir becoming like “Kosovo, South Sudan and East Taimur” in future.
That apart, the United Nations and the countries which are against India might use this issue to “interfere” in the Kashmir affairs.
“It will be internationalised by the UN. There are countries which are opposed to us. There are enemies to India.
They will use this card. The UN and Human Rights Council will definitely interfere,” he said.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “Today is not a day to go back to history or talk about law. We need to think that why are we here and why are we democratic nation.”
He said, “I know that the bill will be passed as you have manufactured democracy. Only the history will tell whether this day is historic or blot on the history or killed the spirit of democracy.”
He said, “We (Congress) won Kashmir and you lost Kashmir. You brought the bill at 12 O’Clock and now you want to discuss. How can there be good debate when we don’t have the bill or resolution with us.”
K K Ragesh (CPM) said, “Democratic fabric of the nation is being questioned. There is an extra-ordinary situation existing. Political leaders are under house arrest and section 144 has been imposed in the State.”
Abdul Wahab (IUML) demanded that the bill be sent to select committee.
Congress member V Vivek K Tankha said, “We have tried to resolve the issue the BJP way. There is whole process of integration. Will all Kashmiri Pandits be able to go back..whether bonhomie will be possible. We missed out a historic consultative process.”
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “This is historic debate. This is a result of many consultations. In BJP manifesto, it is commitment since the time of Jansangh.
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee lost his life in mysterious circumstances. He was union minister. He talked about Article 370. This is on for very long time.”
She said that this development will bring more investment in the state and besides the women and other classes like Bakarwals would get equal rights.
Echoing similar views, Prakash Javadekar said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir would no longer be deprived of many benefits and laws available for safeguarding interest of the citizens in other parts of the country.
He said that Article 370 created alienation, which was transient or temporary.
The Minister said that Seventy years have gone by, this will continue for how many years.
Participating in the debate, Prashanta Nanda (BJD), CM Ramesh (BJP), Ramdas Athawale (RPI) and Jose K Mani (KCM) supported the bill.
With Art 370 Without Art 370
Special powers exercised byJ&K No special powers now
Dual citizenship Single citizenship
Separate flag for J&K Tricolour will be the only flag
Article 356 not applicable Article 356 applicable
Article 360 (Financial Emergency) Article 360 (Financial Emergency)
not applicable applicable
No reservation for minorities Minorities will be eligible for
Indian citizens from other states People from other states will now be
cannot buy land or property in J&K able to purchase land or property in J&K
Duration of Legislative Assembly Assembly duration in Union Territory
for 6 years of J&K will be 5 years
WP refugees, Balmikis get equal rights
Undeterred by “threats” of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, the Narendra Modi Government decided to do away with Article 370 to ensure equality to residents of the State.
Under Article 35A, many communities like refugees of West Pakistan, Balmiki community and descendants of Gorkha soldiers, who have been living in the State for decades, do not enjoy the same status as Kashmiri people, they said.
It was time to repeal Article 370 and Article 35A, they said.
The official also cited the case of members of Balmiki community who were persuaded by Sheikh Abdullah to migrate from Punjab to the State to undertake scavenging of night soil, descendants of Gorkha soldiers of the Maharaja’s Army and women of the State who married men from other States.
He said their children too were denied all rights, while no such provision existed for men who marry non-state subjects, making it a gender issue.
Except for the exiled Pandit families and the people of Ladakh, all other communities mentioned in this list have been denied the status of permanent residents or state subjects because of Article 6 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, which draws its powers from Article 35A of the Indian Constitution, he said.
“It is time to give justice to the victims of Article 35A. These are the women of the State who choose life partners from outside the State and in doing so, lose the right for their progeny to be State citizens,” he said.
He said the Balmikis, the sanitation workers, have no hope for their children other than to remain in this profession, regardless of their academic accomplishments.
“The Gorkhas who have lived here since the 18th century and are denied citizenship rights till date. Such abuse of human rights must end in a free and democratic India,” the official added.