Modi devours Kashmir

Modi devours Kashmir

ISLAMABAD: The Indian government rushed through a presidential decree to abolish articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, which grants a special status to Indian Held Kashmir, as tensions mounted in the disputed valley with unprecedented numbers of Indian troops deployed in the region.

The IHK’s special status, to have separate flag and right to separate constitution, have been abolished. Indian Home Minister Amit Shah introduced a resolution to scrap Article 370 in Rajya Sabha earlier on Monday, which would revoke the special status granted to the IHK and make the state a Union Territory with the legislature.

The occupied 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. Following the announcement, Rajya Sabha witnessed a strong uproar as the opposition parties staged a walkout of the House in protest.

The Modi government was strongly condemned as the pro-India parties of the Indian Held Kashmir also showed strong reservations and condemned the move in the strongest possible way.

A spate of developments in Indian Held Kashmir during the past 10 days have triggered fear and panic among the residents and leaders, with New Delhi confirming it had deployed at least 10,000 troops in the region. A further 70,000 have been deployed since.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood said there was a threat of genocide and ethnic cleansing in IHK after India revoked Article 370.

Qureshi said Pakistan would request and appeal to the United Nations, OIC,friendly countries and human rights organisations not to remain silent on this issue. According to Qureshi, the situation in IHK was more serious than before. “We will consult our legal experts and I believe the freedom movement in Kashmir will gain momentum,” he added.

Reacting to the development, senior Congress leader and former IHK chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged that the BJP had “murdered the Constitution”. Former chief minister of Indian Held Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti condemned the proposed revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution in a series of tweets.

"People like us who placed faith in Parliament, the temple of democracy have been deceived. Those elements in J&K who rejected the [Indian] constitution & sought resolution under the UN have been vindicated. This will exacerbate the alienation Kashmiris feel," she wrote.

She said that Modi government had murdered the constitution and they would protect through their blood. "What did J&K get for acceding to India? Another partition along communal lines? Our special status isn’t a gift bestowed upon us. It's a right guaranteed by the same parliament. A contract entered into by J&K leadership & India. Today the very same contract has been violated," the former minister said in another tweet.

Former IHK chief minister Omar Abdullah termed the unilateral move by the Indian government to revoke articles 370 and 35A a total betrayal of the trust that the Kashmiri people had reposed in India. “The decisions will have far-reaching and dangerous consequences,” Abdullah said in a statement. He added that the unilateral, illegal and unconstitutional decisions will be challenged by the National Conference. “A long and tough battle lies ahead. We are ready for that.”

The United Nations has appealed to India and Pakistan to exercise "maximum restraint" amid escalating tensions between the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region.

"The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan observed and reported an increase in military activity at the Line of Control in recent days," UN Secretary-General's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. "The United Nations appeals to both sides to exercise maximum restraint to ensure that the situation does not further deteriorate," the statement added.

A handful of opposition parties in India denounced its move to scrap special status of IHK through abolishing Article 370 and 35A. Ally of the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party, Janata Dal United under Nitish Kumar, said that the bill lacked consensus. Another leader from the party said it is boycotting the bill, as per a Hindustan Times report.

Rival party to the BJP, Congress criticised the move and called it a ‘black day’ in the history of India’s constitution. Congress leader P Chidambaram said, “We anticipated a misadventure, but did not think in our wildest dreams that they will take such a catastrophic step. Today is a black day in the constitutional history of India.”

According to Indian publication First Post, Congress leader Kapil Sibal asked the ruling party why it was in such a hurry to pass the bill.

Punjab Chief minister Amarinder Singh said that abolishing the Article 370 unilaterally, without consulting the Kashmiri people is against the essence of the Constitution. Polit Bureau member Kavita Krishnan tweeted on the subject calling the move against the Constitution.

“Presidential Order on J&K is Modi Govt’s coup against Constitution. Demonetisation was no solution to black money -- this coup is no solution for Kashmir. Emergency’s midnight knock has reached Kashmir -- will soon reach the whole of India. Joint protest at 3pm, Jantar Mantar today,” she tweeted.

Meanwhile, Indian senior minister Prakash Javadekar in parliament said, "A historic work has been completed today, there is peace in Kashmir and this step is being welcomed all over the world because injustice is ending."

"Kashmir was a paradise, is a paradise and will remain a paradise." RJD MP Manoj Jha in parliament said, "We have opened the way for Kashmir to become Palestine. I urge you to let go of your ego and embrace Kashmiris." Manoj Jha from the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal party said, "There will (be) a very strong reaction in Kashmir. It’s already in a state of unrest and this will only make it worse. If you want people to accept a decision, you need to persuade them and communicate with them. No such thing has happened."

Former Jammu and Kashmir mediator Wajahat Habibullah said, "The abrogation of Article 370 hasn’t just made accession null and void but also reduces India to an occupation force in Jammu and Kashmir."

Meanwhile, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, who was slated to visit Jaisalmer on Monday, has cancelled his visit and has been asked to remain in New Delhi for now. According to wire service shortly after Indian Home Minister Amit Shah announced the scrapping of Article 370 of Indian constitution Monday, additional troops were rushed to the Valley. The news agency has reported that the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) have been put on high alert. Nearly 8,000 paramilitary troops were airlifted from different parts of the country to the Kashmir Valley to avoid any untoward incident after scrapping of Article 370.

Earlier inputs said that nearly 8,000 paramilitary troops were airlifted from different parts of the country to the Kashmir Valley. The troops were airlifted from different states, including Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Assam. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General was also sent to IHK to review the law and order situation in the wake of the fresh development. Ahead of the move to scrap Article 370, which provided special status to IHK, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government had ordered movement of around 100 companies of paramilitary forces from other parts of the country to the Valley.