Home Minister Amit Shah has announced in Rajya Sabha that the government has decided to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution which grants special status to J&K. The government has also decided to bifurcate the state into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be without a legislature.
Shah’s announcement was immediately followed by massive uproar in the Upper House with opposition MPs protesting in the Well of the House. Back in the Valley, three of Jammu and Kashmir's most prominent politicians — Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Sajjad Lone are under house arrest amid a massive security-built up in the state. Internet services and mobile services have been suspended in several places and all public gatherings are banned in Srinagar district as section 144 was imposed from midnight.
Making a historic announcement in the Rajya Sabha that triggered bedlam, Shah said: "I am presenting the resolution to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir except the first clause 370 (1).
This comes at a time when the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir continues to be on the edge.
PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti described the decision to scrap Article 370 as "the darkest day in Indian democracy".
The surprise announcement came after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, where the PM, Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met at the PM's residence. This meeting was preceded by another meeting that started an hour earlier in which Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was also present.