The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference has approached the Supreme Court, challenging the President’s order on Article 370, which revoked special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The party also sought direction from the Supreme Court to declare the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, ratified by President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday, as unconstitutional, PTI reported on Saturday.
Article 370 of the Constitution, passed in October 1949, exempted Jammu and Kashmir from all but two articles of the Indian Constitution – Article 1, which lists the states and Union territories of India, and the Article 370 itself. It allowed the state to have its own Constitution and limited the Parliament’s legislative powers over the state.
The petitions against the Centre’s decisions on Jammu and Kashmir were filed by National Conference leaders Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi. The party’s leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was arrested on Monday, a day after being placed under house arrest as the Centre introduced two resolutions and a bill on the special status and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir in the Lok Sabha. One of the two resolutions moved was to recommend to the President that he issue an order revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Srinagar’s District Magistrate Shahid Choudhary on Saturday said that restrictions had been eased in most parts of the city, tweeting pictures of the people on the streets.
Thousands of people reportedly held demonstrations in Srinagar following afternoon prayers on Friday to protest against the Centre’s decision. Security forces personnel fired tear gas and shot live rounds in the air to control the crowd. While reports said at least 12 people were injured in Friday’s protests, the Indian government played it down and claimed the situation was under control.
The police in Jammu and Kashmir had eased restrictions on Friday, placed on public gatherings for afternoon prayers. Phone services and internet connections were partially restored in the morning and restrictions on movement were eased to facilitate the prayers. The ease on restrictions came five days after the central government imposed a security lockdown of the state and cut off all communication channels, including landline phones, internet services and cellphones, ahead of its decision to end Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.