India introduces resolution to end occupied Kashmir’s special status amid strong opposition in parliament


Shafaqna Pakistan:With an indefinite security lockdown in place in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) and elected representatives under house arrest, India’s ruling party on Monday introduced a measure in parliament to revoke the special constitutional status of occupied Kashmir.

If the special status is repealed, people from the rest of India would have the right to acquire property in occupied Kashmir and settle there permanently. Kashmiris fear this would lead to a demographic transformation of region from majority Muslim to majority Hindu.

As parliament debated the move, Indian media reported that the government has moved 8,000 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) from different parts of the country to IoK.

Chaos in the house

The move by India’s Hindu nationalist-led government, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to revoke the special constitutional status, which allows only residents to buy property and hold state government jobs, is the most far-reaching move on the disputed Himalayan region in nearly seven decades.

Chaos erupted in the upper house of the Indian parliament as opposition lawmakers shouted slogans and started protesting after Home Minister Amit Shah urged members to discuss the legislation that seeks to end the autonomous status for Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Shah, who is also the president of India’s ruling BJP, proposed that all regulation under Article 370 will not be applicable after a presidential nod, reported India Today.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the BJP had “murdered the constitution today”.

Threat to scrap occupied Kashmir’s special status

The two leaders place under house arrest — Abdullah and Mufti — had earlier warned the Centre against abrogation of Article 35A and Article 370, which gives special status to Kashmiris.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, reading out a resolution adopted at a meeting of regional parties, said they have decided to send delegations to meet the president, the prime minister and leaders of various political parties to apprise them of the consequences of any attempt to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A of the constitution or carry out delimitation of constituencies or trifurcating the state, reported India Today.

The ruling BJP in India has consistently advocated an end to occupied Kashmir’s special constitutional status, which prevents outsiders from buying property there, arguing that such laws have hindered its ‘integration’ with the rest of India.

On Sunday, The Hindu reported that additional security troops had been placed in civilian installations and police stations and were put on “standby mode.”

The Indian government has admitted that 10,000 extra troops were sent to IoK a week ago. Media reports on Friday said a further 25,000 had been ordered there.

Kashmir politicians had long raised fears that the troops are sign that the Hindu nationalist government could carry out a threat to scrap occupied Kashmir’s special status under the constitution.

Curfew-like restrictions
Late on Sunday night, the Indian government imposed curfew-like restrictions in the restive region while India sent in tens of thousands of additional troops.

Communications were cut, with private mobile networks, internet services and telephone landlines cut, an AFP reporter said.

“There shall be no movement of public. All educational institutions shall also remain closed. There will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order. Identity cards of essential services officials will be treated as movement passes wherever required,” read an Indian government order, but added: “there is no curfew in place”.