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India’s top court upholds end of special status for Kashmir

Modi hailed the judgment as "a beacon of hope"

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India's top court upholds end of special status for Kashmir

NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court reaffirmed on Monday Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2019 decision to withdraw special status from Jammu and Kashmir.

The court set a deadline of September 30 next year for local elections in the region. Jammu and Kashmir, the country’s sole Muslim-majority region, has been a center of tension with neighboring Pakistan for over 75 years since both nations gained independence from Britain in 1947.

The unanimous decision by a panel of five judges followed multiple petitions contesting the revocation and the subsequent division of the area into two federally administered territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, predominantly Buddhist.

This move sets the stage for elections in Jammu and Kashmir, which saw closer integration with India following the government’s decision.

Article 370 was temporary

The court ruled that the special status was a temporary constitutional provision, ordering Jammu and Kashmir to regain statehood at the earliest.

Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud clarified, “Article 370 was an interim arrangement due to war conditions in the state,” highlighting its temporary nature in the Indian constitution.

Modi hailed the judgment

Modi hailed the judgment as “a beacon of hope, a promise of a brighter future” and a testament to unity for the people in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The decision aligns with the long-standing promise of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist group.

Pakistan protests

However, the decision faced opposition from Pakistan, whose caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani rejected it, asserting that international law doesn’t recognize India’s 2019 actions and highlighted Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.

Political parties in Kashmir opposing the revocation expressed disappointment, with heightened security preceding the verdict due to ongoing tensions, violence, and protests in the region.

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