Kashmir situation: Modi govt moves to scrap Article 370

Shah's statement is 1st major response from Modi govt to rapid developments in J&K

Shah lok sabha pti (File) Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha | PTI

Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday informed Parliament that the Narendra Modi government has moved a resolution to scrap Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian union.

Shah made the announcement in the Rajya Sabha at 11am. He is expected to address the Lok Sabha later in the day. Even before Shah began his statement, Congress leader in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad informed the Rajya Sabha about curfew in Kashmir and demanded discussion on it on priority basis.

The statement from Shah is the first major response from the Narendra Modi government to the rapid developments in the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir over the last two weeks.

The security measures in Jammu and Kashmir had given rise to rumours that the Modi government was planning to revoke Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, which ensured special status to the state. There was also speculation the Modi government would trifurcate Jammu and Kashmir, with Jammu being made a 'full state', while Kashmir and Ladakh would be Union territories. A trifurcation move would effectively 'invalidate' Articles 370 and 35A, some experts had claimed.

The Modi government ordered the deployment of 35,000 additional paramilitary personnel in the past two weeks and, last weekend, asked Amarnath Yatris and tourists to leave Kashmir. On Sunday, deployment of Central security forces began across Kashmir, with the government also ordering suspension of internet and landline phone services.

The government also placed under house-arrest key political leaders in the state, including PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and even Sajjad Lone, who was perceived to be close to the BJP. Both Abdullah and Mufti have been chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, with Mufti holding the post in a coalition government with the BJP.

The security measures had invited criticism from political parties. PDP MPs had announced they would sport black armbands in Parliament to protest against the security crackdown in Jammu and Kashmir.

Shah was also scheduled to introduce the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019, on Monday in Rajya Sabha. The bill will provide up to 10 per cent quota for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in educational institutions and public employment alongside existing reservations in Jammu and Kashmir.