In a move that has shocked the consciousness of the nation, the home minister Amit Shah moved a Bill in Rajya Sabha to repeal Article 370 and Article 35-A of the Constitution that grants special status to the state. Announcing the move, home minister Amit Shah said that the Centre has decided to bifurcate the state into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be without a legislature.
Denouncing the move, former Jammu and Kashmir interlocutor Wajahat Habibullah underscores that this is an extremely regressive step. He highlights that the government has made it real for the people of Kashmir that they weren’t living in a democracy anymore.
“This is an extremely regressive step and what its objective is, I fail to understand. If the idea was to remedy the law and order situation, then this is going to make it worse. Kashmir will be on a boil as it will be taken very badly by people in Kashmir,” points out Habibullah.
“It remains for the courts to say if a Presidential order can change the Constitution. I can’t give a legal opinion, but on the face of it, this is illegal. Article 370 was a temporary provision but changing anything in the Constitution without consultation with the people is itself unconstitutional. Most people don’t even know what has happened as they have been cut off. This is an undemocratic measure. Why have they taken such an undemocratic measure? Because they know that it would have regressive repercussions in Kashmir. If fact, it is Kashmir which has always been a problem for them. Earlier, they would say Jammu & Kashmir, now the problem is in the open. The problem is Kashmir,” explains the first Chief Information Commissioner of India
“Now, this government has made it real for the people of Kashmir what they have always suspected all this time – that they weren’t in a democracy. Now, the government of India has made it clear that it is not a democracy. There is no pretence of a democracy anymore. Now, there is no longer any middle ground. They have put the people of the state in outright confrontation,” observes Habibullah.