India finally abolishes special status of occupied Kashmir valley

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DELHI/ISLAMABAD (ENNS/MD) The Modi government on Monday rushed through a presidential decree to abolish Article 370 of the Constitution which grants special status to Indian occupied Kashmir, as tensions mounted in the disputed valley with unprecedented numbers of Indian troops deployed in the region.

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah introduced a resolution to scrap Article 370 in Rajya Sabha, which revoked the special status granted to Kashmir and made the state a Union Territory with the legislature.

The valley would be bifurcated into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be without a legislature, he said, amid uproar from the opposition in the Upper House.

A spate of developments in Indian-occupied Kashmir during the past 10 days have triggered fear and panic among residents and leaders, with New Delhi confirming it had deployed at least 10,000 troops in the region.

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a ‘temporary provision’ which grants special autonomous status to occupied Kashmir. All the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to occupied Kashmir.

According to this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, the Indian Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws.

The residents of occupied Kashmir, therefore, live under a separate set of laws as compared to Indian citizens elsewhere in the country, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights.

Under Article 35A, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Kashmir valley.

On the other side President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi summoned a joint session of the Parliament on Tuesday.

The joint sitting, to be held at 11am, will review the tense situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir and along the Line of Control after the Modi government confirmed the extra deployment of troops in the valley.

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