ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reorganisation of J&K and Anxiety in Jammu

One Year After

The response of the people of the Jammu region to the abrupt changes made in Jammu and Kashmir, both related to revocation of the special constitutional status of the state and its reorganisation, is explored. Historically tracing the response of the region towards Article 370 and locating it in its relationship with Kashmir, the anxieties being felt in the region after the changes in August 2019 are discussed.

More than a year has passed since the introduction of abrupt changes in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). It was on 5 August 2019 that the Government of India (GoI) took the decision of abrogating the special constitutional status of the state and reorganising it. Article 370, therefore, was modified to such an extent that, though it continued to be a part of the Constitution of India, it lost its essence. Rather than being an exceptional provision limiting the application of the Constitution (and also the central legislations) to J&K, it now extends the Constitution in its entirety to this erstwhile state. Article 35A, that empowered the legislature of the state to define the permanent residents and provide their special privileges and rights, was rendered irrelevant. By implication, the state lost its own constitution as well as its provision related to the privileges of the permanent residents of the state. Further, the decision was taken to reorganise the state by bifurcating it. Ladakh was separated from the rest of J&K and granted the status of union territory without a legislature. J&K, meanwhile, was downgraded from a state to a union territory with a legislature.

How did the people of the erstwhile state respond to these changes? A lot has been stated about the anger and resentment in the Kashmir region. But what about Jammu and Ladakh? There was an impression that in both these regions there was an overwhelming sense of app­roval to these changes. Reference can be made to celebrations both in Leh and Jammu (as well as in some other towns of Jammu) after these changes were announced (Hindu 2019). While this impression is true to some extent, there are other realities which make the response in both these regions quite complex. While an analysis of Ladakh region has already been done in an earlier article in EPW (Chowdhary 2021), an atte­mpt is made in this article to reflect on the Jammu region’s response to these changes.

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Updated On : 15th Feb, 2021
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