The Supreme Court of India has affirmed the removal of special status from the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration abolished Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which had granted significant autonomy to the region. The state, with a population exceeding 12 million, was also reorganized into two union territories.
Supreme Court On Article 370
The court directed the government to conduct elections in the region by September 2024 and urged the restoration of the region as a state “at the earliest.” Chief Justice DY Chandrachud emphasized that Jammu and Kashmir lacked internal sovereignty distinct from other states.
Justice SK Kaul, concurring with the judgement, proposed the establishment of an “impartial truth and reconciliation commission” in Kashmir to investigate human rights violations by both “state and non-state actors” spanning several decades.
Omar Abdullah’s Reaction to Jammu and Kashmir’s Special Status Verdict
The revocation of special status was a key pledge by Prime Minister Modi in 2019, and the court’s decision comes ahead of his bid for a third term. Local leaders in the region have expressed disappointment with the ruling.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah posted on X (formerly Twitter) that he was “disappointed but not disheartened”.
Historical Background: Jammu and Kashmir’s Journey Since 1947
The Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state which joined India in 1947 soon after the sub-continent was divided. Its scenic landscapes have since been at the center of geopolitical tensions between India and Pakistan.
Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have since fought two wars and a limited conflict over Kashmir. Each has come to control different parts of the territory with a ceasefire line agreed.
Inspector General VK Birdi’s Commitment to Peace in the Valley
Security has been tightened in Kashmir since Monday morning. “We are duty-bound to ensure that peace prevails in the valley under all circumstances,” VK Birdi, the inspector general of Kashmir zone, told PTI news agency.
Security was also beefed up and the region witnessed a communication blackout when the revocation happened. On 5 August 2019, the Indian government revoked nearly all of Article 370 of the Indian constitution. It granted special privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir state.