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  • People hold signs and shout slogans during a protest after the government scrapped the special status for Kashmir, in New Delhi, India, Aug. 5, 2019.

    People hold signs and shout slogans during a protest after the government scrapped the special status for Kashmir, in New Delhi, India, Aug. 5, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 August 2019

India revoked special status of Occupied Kashmir region which allowed some autonomy to the conflict-ridden northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. 

India's Interior Minister Amit Shah announced at parliament Monday that the federal government is scrapping Article 370, which was a constitutional provision that granted a measure of autonomy to the Indian Occupied Kashmir.

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“The entire constitution will be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir state,” Shah told parliament amid several objections from opposition ministers. 

Activists and progressives have called protests against the abrogation of the special status while Kashmir remains under strict lockdown with no communication with the outside world and an indefinite curfew. 

Article 370 does not allow non-Kashmiris to purchase any property in the state. The latest move will allow Indian Hindus can purchase properties in the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir, which activists say warned would be a similar policy to that of Israeli settlements in Palestine. 

"The right wing in India has considered Israel its role model. Modi and Shah are playing straight from that playbook," Rana Ayyub, an Indian activist and journalist, said in a tweet reacting to the move by the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Along with revoking the special status, the government divided the state in two Union Territories, meaning they will be ruled by the federal government while losing statehood. 

The constitutional provisions revoked Monday were the bedrock of the treaty of accession through which Jammu and Kashmir's ruler acceded his region to Indian territory.

“Today marks the darkest day in Indian democracy,” said Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. “It will have catastrophic consequences for the subcontinent,” she added.

The genesis of Kashmir issue can be traced back to 1947, the year India ‘won’ independence from the two-centuries-long British colonialism.

The King of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, a Hindu ruler in the Muslim majority valley, dreamt of ruling Kashmir independently while more than 500 princely states were banded together by the British to form the present-day geopolitical territory known as India.​​​​​​​

Hari Singh’s father bought Kashmir from the British in 1846 which chose not to accede with India. Nonetheless, this was shattered by the entrance of Pakistani troops into Kashmir in October of that year.

Realizing his impending doom, the fleeing king requested military help from India and in return acceded the valley into Indian territory on Oct. 26, 1947, despite opposition from its population.

On Oct. 27, 1947, in the early morning hours, the Indian army landed in Kashmir. Their ascendance became the catalyst of the movement for ‘Azadi’ (freedom).

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