In 2019, BJP revoked the special status of then Jammu and Kashmir, and illegally integrated it with India. I was studying in India at the time while my family was in Kashmir. Due to the communication blockade, I was not able to connect with them for
a very long time. I still remember how difficult it was for me to live far from home and not hearing back from my family. The history of India, Pakistan and Kashmir may be intertwined but such stories remain at the very heart of it.
It all started after partition. The British did not divide the princely states since they were ruled by princes. In fact, they never had proper control over these states to begin with. To solve this issue, India created the ‘Instrument of Accession’ that allowed the princely states to accede to India. Most of the princely states acceded except Jammu and Kashmir. The region was different from other princely states as it was Muslim majority by population, most of whom wanted to accede to Pakistan but was ruled by a Hindu king named Maharaja Hari Singh. The king neither acceded to India nor Pakistan and decided to remain independent. After doing so, Pakistan tried to enter its territory to take control. In order to defend his state, the Maharaja asked India for military help but India only agreed to help if Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India. The Maharaja signed the ‘Instrument of Accession’ on 26th October, 1947. This day is considered as a ‘Black Day’ for the Kashmiris.
Resultantly, the war led to the division of the state into two regions. Around one-third of the territory was taken by Pakistan and the rest acceded to India. Later in 1962, China took the Aksai-Chin area of Jammu and Kashmir thereby making it
a tripolar dispute between India, Pakistan and China.
Since the accession of Jammu and Kashmir was not acceptable by the people, the Indian government gave it special status. In the Presidential order of 1954, Article 370 and 35(a) were drafted in the Constitution of India to guarantee this special status. Article 370 was drafted in Part XXI of the Indian Constitution with the title of “Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions.” It guaranteed special status and power to Jammu and Kashmir to have their separate Constitution, a state flag, and autonomy of internal administration, defence and communication. Article 35(a) of the Indian Constitution, allowed the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir to define their people as the states “permanent residents.” All the residents had a state subject or a resident proof which gave them fundamental rights, citizenship, right to own and buy a property in the state. As a result of this article, anyone outside the region couldn’t purchase property in the state. On 31st October 2019, the parliament of India gave the order of re-organising Jammu and Kashmir into two was union territories — Jammu and Kashmir was one and Ladakh was the other.
In their 2019 election manifesto, BJP promised to remove the Articles 370 and 35(a) to end terrorism and integrate Jammu and Kashmir with India. Many scholars claim that the removal of these Articles happened with the intension to change the demography of the region.
Since the removal of these articles, the legislative framework of the region has started to change. For example, in colleges 50% of seats are reserved just for Indians. Such changes have angered the locals as they feel neglected in their own land. Post 2019, the Indian government claims that everything is ‘normal’ in the region and since then large number of Indians have started visiting. However, despite the changes, insurgency still exists. Almost every day we hear about encounters and attacks in various parts of the region. The vicious cycle still continues.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ