Published: Tue, August 06, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Refugees in Pakistan fearful after India abolishes Kashmir autonomy

Refugees in Pakistan fearful after India abolishes Kashmir autonomy

India's government on Monday revoked the special status of Kashmir in a bid to fully integrate its only Muslim-majority region with the rest of the country, the most far-reaching move on the troubled Himalayan territory in almost seven decades.

Article 370 of the Indian constitution formed the basis of Kashmir's accession to India and gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for everything apart from foreign affairs, communications, and defense.

To do so, it used a provision under Article 370 of the constitution that allows the law to be tweaked by a presidential order - provided there is consensus in the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.

Informed sources said the Minister discussed internal security as well as the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where the Amarnath Yatra has been curtailed after the government warned of terror threats.

On Sunday midnight, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti and People's Conference leader Sajjad Lone have been placed under house arrest in the midst of turmoil in the Kashmir valley.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, but both countries claim the whole territory.

For three decades the Indian-administered part has been in the grip of an insurgency that has left tens of thousands dead.

India is to attempt to withdraw the special status of the disputed territory of Kashmir and split the state in two, in a move likely to face major resistance in the Muslim-majority state and escalate tensions with Pakistan.

Shah has moved a Bill in the House for bifurcation of the State.

Given how Home Minister Amit Shah has proposed the bifurcation of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir, it remains to be seen what will happen eventually to the people over there.

"Not all provisions of Article 370 will be applicable in Kashmir", he announced.

Article 35A of India's constitution permits the local legislature in Indian-controlled Kashmir to define permanent residents of the region. Shah said, "Kashmir will no longer be a state".

It was the result of an accommodation all those years ago between the government of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Kashmir's political leaders. Groups that favor departure from India are being active in the Indian part.

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