Shutdown in Kashmir as two UTs come into existence

A security jawan keeps vigil as a road is blocked with barbed wires at Lal Chowk, after bifurcation of the Jammu and Kashmir state came into existence, in Srinagar, Thursday. (PTI Photo)

Kashmir observed a shutdown on Thursday as two Union territories carved out of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir came into existence, with some valley residents accusing the government of robbing them of their special status and identity.

While the National Conference termed the move as "unconstitutional", the BJP welcomed the move, saying it will usher in peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Normal life remained affected across the Kashmir valley as a complete shutdown was observed, officials said.

Shops remained shut and public transport was off the road. Only private cars and few auto-rickshaws, in some areas of the city here, were plying, they said.

The National Conference (NC) – Jammu and Kashmir's grand-old party – termed the Centre's decision to abrogate Article 370 and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories as “unconstitutional” and “not in the interest of the people of the country”.

“This entire exercise is unconstitutional. Parliament does not have power in terms of Article 3 as applicable to Jammu and Kashmir or otherwise also to fragment a state or divide it into pieces. The only power the Parliament has is to form a new state. Maybe Parliament can chip away a part of a state and create a new state. There is no power to make a state disappear,” NC leader Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi told PTI.

The MP said the concurrence of an elected state government was necessary for the abrogation of article 370 or the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, the BJP welcomed the move, saying it will usher in peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

“This transition is for peace, development and dignity and our prime minister's vision of Jammu and Kashmir on the same lines will be achieved in the coming years with the blessings of the people of this nation,” BJP state spokesperson Khalid Jehangir said.

Some people in the valley said the Centre's decision has robbed them of their identity and special status.

“This is a decision against our interests. They have robbed us of our special status and our identity,” Muzammil Mohamad, a resident of civil lines area of the city, said.

Another local, Umer Zargar, charged that “India's decision was illegal, immoral and unconstitutional”.

“India cannot abrogate Article 370. This issue is in the United Nations. There are resolutions on it. This decision is illegal, immoral and unconstitutional,” he said.

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