The Background: The Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation today on the decision to revoke Article 370 and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories. In his address, however, he did not mention for once the communication blackout, the protests in several areas of the state or the clampdown of section 144 in large parts of the valley.
He said, “Article 370 had been keeping Jammu and Kashmir from the path of development. People were not able to say what good this article and Article 35A were doing to the state.”
The Prime Minister also said that the priority is the socio-economic development of the region.
He said that the decision to keep the state under the direct control of the Central government was ‘well thought over decision’.
He also stressed that the Union Territory status for J&K from being a full State, was a “temporary” situation and that at some point statehood would be restored. But, Ladakh, would remain as Union Territory, he added.
But for the last few days, hundreds of people in Kargil, which belongs to Ladakh, took to the streets to protest the abrogation of Article 370 and the reorganization of the state. Section 144 was imposed and 12 people, including leaders, were detained.
The Supreme Court today, refused to accord urgent hearing to a plea challenging the Presidential Order on Article 370. The matter was mentioned for urgent listing by Advocate M.L Sharma, who had filed the petition. He urged the bench headed by Justice N.V Ramana to list his plea for hearing either on August 12 or 13. The court however said that the plea would be heard in the due course.
Meanwhile, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended trade with India. The Pakistan National Security Council decided to take five measures:
- Downgrading of diplomatic relations with India.
- Suspension of bilateral trade with India.
- Review of bilateral arrangements.
- Pakistan to go to UN, including Security Council.
- August 14 (Pakistan’s Independence Day) to be observed in “solidarity with brave Kashmiris”. India’s Independence Day (August 15) will be marked as “Black Day”.
Pakistan also asked India to withdraw its high commissioner Ajay Bisaria in Islamabad and also decided not to send its high commissioner-designate Moin-ul-Haq to New Delhi.
India on the other hand has requested Pakistan to reconsider the decision. The Indian foreign ministry reiterated that recent developments related to Article 370 are entirely an internal matter. Pakistan’s move was “obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties”.
At a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammed Faisal said that despite the latest developments, Pakistan will continue the work on the Kartarpur corridor project.
Meanwhile, Pakistan stopped Samjhauta Express on their side at Wagah border on Thursday citing security concerns. The passengers were stranded briefly before Indian crew members and guard escorted the train back to Attari.
The Pakistan Prime Minister Imran in a tweet wondered if the international community will have the ‘moral courage’ to intervene in the ongoing situation in Kashmir.
Malala Yousufzai, the youngest Nobel Prize laureate urges peaceful resolution of Kashmir. In a statement on Twitter she said, “The people of Kashmir have lived in conflict since I was a child, since my mother and father were children, since my grandparents were young,”
The former RAW chief A.S Daulat in an interview to The Wire has said ,“Abrogation of Article 370 will only lead to increase in terrorism in Kashmir”.
Noted Pakistani writer and the author of “A case of Exploding Mangoes” in the meantime wrote a piece in The New York Times where he said that India annexes Kashmir and brings back Partition.