BJP scraps Article 370 as IoK reels under curfew

BJP scraps Article 370 as IoK reels under curfew

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government on Monday rushed through a presidential decree to scrap special status (Article 370) of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) in the most significant change in seven decades as promised in the manifesto by the Hindu-extremist party.

The BJP also moved a bill proposing to divide the territory into two regions to be directly ruled by New Delhi.

The Indian government imposed a security lockdown on the IoK in the early hours of Monday after deploying tens of thousands of troops in the past week, claiming there was a terror threat.

Home Minister Amit Shah, a close ally of Modi, told parliament the president had signed a decree abolishing Article 370 of the constitution giving special autonomy to the Himalayan region.

The decree said the measure came into force "at once".Prior to the announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a security cabinet meeting, hours after his government ordered a lockdown in the region, cutting phone and internet links and putting local politicians under house arrest.

New Delhi has said the sweeping clampdown, enforced by tens of thousands of military reinforcements, was needed because of the "prevailing law and order situation".

Former chief ministers of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest late Sunday night as the Indian government also imposed curfew-like restrictions.

“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,” reads the Indian government order, but says, "There is no curfew in place".