On 5 August Home Minister Amit Shah informed parliament that Article 370 has been abolished with the President signing an order that comes into effect at once. That means that the special status given through the constitution to Kashmir has now ended.
The government has also put a proposal in parliament that bifurcates the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories which are effectively semi-states. If accepted Jammu and Kashmir would be one union territory with its own legislature. Ladakh would be the other but without its own assembly.
Home Minsiter Amit Shah said the union territory status proposed for Jammu and Kashmir is based on an assessment of the prevailing security situation fueled by cross-border terrorism.
Article 370 gave Kashmir its own constitution and restricted the centre’s powers to deciding matters of defence, communications and external affairs. For any other area, the centre had to get the state legislature’s approval.
Kashmir also had, through Article 35A of the constitution, the right to decide through its own legislature who is a permanent resident of the region it barred outsiders from buying property or claiming government jobs and educational scholarships.
The BJP holds that these provisions are constitutionally vulnerable and that they are discriminatory and have inhibited the development of the state.
The order removing Article 370 came after tension in the Kashmir Valley with thousands of paramilitary troops being flown into the area in the last few days.