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India Revokes Jammu And Kashmir’s Special Status, Puts Army On High Alert

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India Revokes Jammu And Kashmir's Special Status, Puts Army On High Alert

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On August 5th, the government of India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. 

Essentially, with a rushed bill that passed Indian parliament, Jammu and Kashmir’s constitution was revoked and they were returned as fully-fledged parts of India subject to its own constitution.

The accepted bill is the following:

India Revokes Jammu And Kashmir's Special Status, Puts Army On High Alert

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In parliament, Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah announced the action amid strong opposition by members of the Congress party.

He said that the president had signed a decree abolishing Article 370 of the constitution that gave special autonomy to the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.

Article 370 of the constitution forbid Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships.

Shah said the government also decided to split the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be ruled directly by the central government without a legislature of its own.

A member of Parliament in Jammu and Kashmir – Mir Mohammad Fayaz, tore up the Indian constitution in sign of protest.

Omar Abdullah, Vice-President of National Conference and former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir released a statement on the decision to revoke Article 370, expressing his discontent and saying that the decision was made unilaterally and there would be a “long and tough battle.”

India Revokes Jammu And Kashmir's Special Status, Puts Army On High Alert

Click to see full-size image

The news was well-accepted by representatives of Ladakh, but that was no surprise.

Following the government decisions, the Indian Army was put on high alert.

Close to 8,000 paramilitary troops airlifted and moved in from Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Assam and other parts of the country to the Kashmir valley, with the deployment still not finalized.

Jammu and Kashmir are under Section 144, which is a sort of state of emergency and there is a curfew imposed.

The decision was probably made earlier, since India ordered the Amarnath yatra pilgrims to leave Kashmir, as well as ordered the deployment of more troops two days earlier citing an unclear threat from Pakistan.

“The threat turned out to be true with Pakistan’s notorious Border Action Team (BAT) which tried to infiltrate Kashmir and attack a forward post along the LoC in Keran sector. The Indian Army managed to foil the attempt to infiltrate, killing five to seven intruders,” Indian media reported.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office denied Indian claims that Pakistan has launched action across the LoC to target Indian security forces.

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs said it was prepared to put all states on high alert, thus it is expecting a sharp response to the action.

Pakistan immediately expressed its condemnation of India’s actions, saying that it would undertake all possible actions to counteract.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the “irresponsible, unilateral and irrational behavior” by India in the disputed Kashmir territory, with the country’s top civilian and military leaderships warning New Delhi’s crackdown was destabilizing the region.

“PM [Khan] invited attention of world leaders and international bodies towards irresponsible, unilateral and irrational behavior of Indian leadership,” said a Pakistani government statement.

“The recent Indian measures will increase the levels of violence and turn this area into a flashpoint and a destabilizing factor in the midst of two strategically capable neighboring countries,” it said.

“Pakistan remains ready to defend itself against any Indian misadventure or aggression and will continue to provide all out diplomatic, moral and political support to the brave people of [Indian-administered Kashmir] in their indigenous struggle to get justice and their right to self-determination in line with [United Nations Security Council] resolutions.”

India’s decision was reportedly made to create a room for an increase of security measrues to put an end to the terrorist activity in the area. At the same time, it creates a possibility of escalation in Kashmir.

Pakistan has been lobbying for a while at the UN and Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) against the alleged crackdown by Indian forces in the region.

On August 3rd, it condemned the alleged use of “cluster munitions” by Indian security forces in firing across the Line of Control, the de facto border between India-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and said at least six civilians had been killed and 48 wounded in Indian firing since July 19.

India, on its part also accuses Pakistan of continuously and frequently violating the 2003 ceasefire.

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