India’s move to strip Kashmir of special status upheld by top court

India’s top court has upheld a decision by the government to strip special status from Jammu and Kashmir.
The Supreme Court also set a deadline of 30 September next year for local elections to be held.

Jammu and Kashmir – India’s only Muslim-majority region – has been the subject of more than 75 years of animosity with neighbours Pakistan since the birth of the two nations in 1947.
Pakistan’s caretaker government rejected the court’s verdict.
“International law doesn’t recognise India’s unilateral and illegal actions” of 2019, caretaker foreign minister Jalil Abbas Jilani posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The government’s move in 2019 to revoke the Indian constitution’s Article 370 – which gave the region significant autonomy – means it is integrated more closely with India.
The decision is a shot in the arm for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government ahead of a general election due before next May.
Mr Modi defended his move to strip the people of Kashmir of their special status, saying it represented “one nation, one constitution”.
He called the ruling “a beacon of hope, a promise of a brighter future” – but political parties in Kashmir said they were “disappointed” by the decision.


‘This isn’t the end of the road’
Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister and president of the Jammu And Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, said people “are not going to lose hope or give up”, adding: “Our fight for honour and dignity will continue regardless.
“This isn’t the end of the road for us.”
In August 2019, the Indian government revoked Article 370 and split the population of over 12 million people into two union territories.
This would bring both provinces under the direct rule of Mr Modi’s federal government.

Image: Indian paramilitary soldiers in Srinagar
Read more:Why is Kashmir such a flashpoint?India elections: Modi juggernaut rolls on
Under the special status, Kashmiris could own property, get government jobs, scholarships and other privileges.
People from outside the state were barred from owning property, while the state had its own constitution, flag and allowed most state laws to override federal laws.
As Kashmir was the only Muslim-majority state in India, the real fear for people there is that the demography will change without the protection provided by a special status.
In August 2019, hundreds of people took to the streets after Friday prayers.
They were seen carrying black flags and chanting anti-India and freedom slogans, while there were reports of sporadic stone pelting on security personnel.
All state political leaders and activists were taken into preventive custody, immobilising all political opposition.

Source : Sky News