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Second Anniversary of Special Status Revocation: J&K

  • 06 Aug 2021
  • 6 min read

Why in News

The Forum for Human Rights in J&K (FHRJK) released its report a day ahead of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) completing two years as Union Territory.

  • The report raised concerns about the militancy that continues to remain a major challenge in J&K.
  • FHRJK is an independent body co-chaired by former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur and former Kashmir interlocutor Radha Kumar.

Key Points

  • Background:
    • On 5 August 2019, the government of India revoked the special constitutional status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, and abrogated Article 35A.
      • Article 35A had allowed J&K to define who its ‘permanent residents’ are and what rights and privileges are attached to such residency.
    • The former state was bifurcated into the Union Territories of Ladakh (without a legislature) and Jammu-Kashmir (with a legislature).
    • Concurrently, the Indian government imposed a near-total telecommunications lockdown in the region, detained political leaders and dissidents, and enforced Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code to prevent violent unrest.
  • Findings from the Report:
    • The reports raised concerns regarding human rights abuses, arbitrary detentions, prohibition on assembly and censorship on local media houses in J&K.
    • The government has taken several positive steps, but they fell short of expectations.
    • It also held that the counter-insurgency concerns continue to be given priority over public, civilian and human security.
  • Reasons for Militancy in J&K:
  • Steps Taken by Government & Judiciary:
    • Promoting Industrial Development: Recently, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade has notified New Central Sector Scheme for industrial development of Jammu and Kashmir.
      • The scheme offers four incentives namely:
        • Capital Investment Incentive,
        • Capital Interest subvention,
        • Goods & Service Tax Linked Incentive
        • Working Capital Interest Subvention.
      • The Scheme will help in creation of more employment opportunities and promotion of tourism in the region.
    • AB-PMJAY SEHAT Scheme: The Scheme provides free of cost insurance cover. It provides financial cover upto Rs. 5 lakh per family on a floater basis to all residents of the UT of J&K.
    • Ceasefire Agreement: Indian and Pakistani Directors-General of Military Operations (DGMOs) agreed for restricted infiltration by armed groups and raised hopes that a wider peace process might follow.
    • Elections in J&K: The Union government sought to conduct elections in J&K.
      • However, the government held that the elections would be held for a UT assembly. On the contrary, regional parties are of the view that they will participate in the election, after statehood to J&K has been reinstated.
    • Supreme Court Verdict on Internet Shutdown: The Supreme Court gave a judgement in response to petitions filed, arguing the Internet shutdown and curbing of other civil liberties in the J&K.
      • The court held that suspension could be done for temporary duration only and the same is subject to judicial review.
    • Special Package for J&K and Ladakh under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission.

Way Forward

  • The Human rights forum recommended release of all remaining political detainees and repeal of the PSA and other preventive detention legislation.
  • It also called for involvement of local communities in facilitating the return of Kashmiri Pandits.
  • Peace framework in J&K can be established by implementing the vision of former Prime Minister of India (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) - Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat (inclusive culture of Kashmir, humanitarianism and democracy) for Kashmir solution.

Source: TH

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