Who drafted the Kashmiri Constitution
India overrides autonomy for Kashmir
India overrides autonomy for Kashmir
The balance of power in the Kashmir Valley is changing because the Indian government abolishes the region's special status in the constitution. Kashmiri politicians speak of illegal occupation.
The Himalaya Valley is in a state of emergency. Internet and telephone connections are down, important politicians are under house arrest, schools and universities are closed. Internet and telephone connections are blocked. In a few lines on Monday morning, the Kashmir Valley, which has been controversial for more than 70 years, officially became part of India.
President Ram Nath Kovind published a brief ordinance which was then presented to Parliament in New Delhi. This means that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which previously granted Kashmir a far-reaching special status, will be deleted without replacement. It is one of the most momentous changes since India gained independence in 1947.
Shortly after midnight, India imposed a gathering ban on the Kashmir area under its control. Three important politicians have been placed under house arrest. At the same time, another 8,000 paramilitary troops were flown in after 38,000 additional forces had been stationed in the valley last week.
Pakistan's government protests violently
"Pakistan condemns the announcement of the Indian government in the strongest possible way," declared Pakistan's Foreign Ministry immediately. The region is internationally recognized as a controversial area, and no unilateral step by India can change this. The country will support the people in "occupied Jammu and Kashmir" in their right to self-determination. India's decision violates the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and is "illegal".
"Today is the darkest day for Indian democracy," wrote the Kashmiri politician Mehbuba Mufti, who was placed under house arrest. The decision of the central government is "illegal and unconstitutional". In fact, India is now becoming an occupying power in Kashmir.
In contrast, India's Hindu nationalist government celebrated the move as overdue. The presidential decision on the constitutional amendment will later be presented to parliament, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a comfortable majority. The party had already promised in 2014 to change Kashmiri status and to allow the area with its majority Muslim population to be incorporated into the predominantly Hindu India. The opposition spoke of a "murder of democracy".
India's decision comes against the backdrop of a changing balance of power in the region. In the desert emirate of Doha, the USA is negotiating a peace agreement in Afghanistan with the rebellious Taliban. US President Donald Trump wants to withdraw the American soldiers from the Hindu Kush as quickly as possible and end the conflict that has lasted over 18 years. This will strengthen the position of Pakistan in the region, which has good relations with the Taliban. Recently, Trump had stated several times that he wanted to help resolve the Kashmir conflict. India, however, firmly rejects this. With the abolition of the special status, India is pulling Kashmir firmly into its own sphere of influence, signaling that it wants to consolidate the status quo and does not intend to accept Trump's offers to negotiate Kashmir and make concessions to Pakistan in the process. However, this will throw the people in Kashmir into chaos. It is to be expected that there will be riots, protests and terrorist attacks.
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