The President’s rule imposed in undivided Jammu and Kashmir was on Thursday revoked following bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories.
The two UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh come into existence on Thursday after the central government on August 5 decided to abrogate the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and create them on October 31.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 356 of the Constitution, I, Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, hereby revoke the proclamation issued by me under the said article on the 19th December, 2018 in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” the official notification said.
The region has been under harsh security clampdown for nearly three months. Street protests against the measures have erupted sporadically, while militants have killed about a dozen people from outside the state in recent weeks.
As the Modi government withdrew Kashmir’s autonomy in August, it poured thousands of more troops into Kashmir valley and made sweeping arrests to prevent any outbreak of violence.
The government also imposed severe restrictions on travel and cut telephone and internet lines. Some measures have been scaled back but a security lockdown is still largely in place and broadband and mobile internet connections remain unavailable to most Kashmiris.
Schools and colleges are empty and most shops, restaurants and hotels shut. Hundreds of people, including mainstream political leaders and separatists, remain in custody for fear that they could whip up mass protests that have in the past turned violent.
Wajahat Habibullah, a former bureaucrat who served in Kashmir and travelled to the region’s main city last month, told Reuters that Kashmiris felt humiliated to lose their statehood.
“Whatever the attitude of governments in the past, they at least felt they had something of their own. Now, there is a kind of feeling of having lost whatever freedom they had,” he said.
Central rule was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir in June 2017 after the resignation of the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti when the BJP withdrew support to the PDP led government.
The first central rule as ‘Governor’s rule’ continued for six months. After six months, President’s rule was imposed for the next six months which was subsequently extended with the approval of Parliament.
Article 356 of the Constitution under which President’s rule is imposed in a state, is not applicable in the Union Territories.
GC Murmu, a former bureaucrat from Modi’s home state of Gujarat, will be sworn-in as the first Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
Radha Krishna Mathur has been sworn-in as the first Lt Governor of Union Territory of Ladakh.
(With inputs from PTI and Reuters)