On 27 October 1947, while the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was under turmoil when Maharaja Hari Singh sought help from the Indian government, the troops of the Indian army landed in Kashmir. At that time, it was seen as a temporary measure to keep the peace. Even after seventy-three years, the army continues to increase its presence and New Delhi has further removed the impediments in order to consolidate its grip over Kashmir.
Later on 5 August 2019, the government of India revoked the special status granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir. The government took this step through a presidential order that superseded the 1954 proclamation.
On July 17, the Jammu and Kashmir administrative council headed by Lt. Governor G. C. Murmu cleared a proposal to amend the J&K Control of Building Operations Act, 1988 and the J&K Development Act, 1970 for notifying “strategic areas” for use by the armed forces and regulating construction through “special dispensation”.
The J-K’s regional parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), described the proposal of amending the Control of Building Operations Act, 1988 and the J&K Development Act, 1970 as “an attempt to change the demography and turn the entire region into a military establishment”.
Later, the government spokesman said the decision has nothing to do with the transfer of any land to the armed forces. “The transfer, both acquisition or requisitions, continues to be governed by the existing law and the norms on the subject. There is no decision to either transfer any new land or declare areas outside cantonments or army land as strategic.”
In our latest podcast, Sarwat Javaid of The Kashmir Walla speaks to Athar Parvaiz an award-winning journalist based in Srinagar, who has extensively written on the environment and climate change, and Raja Muzaffar, RTI Activist, and Columnist, who is an Acumen Fellow and presently undergoing Climate Action Fellowship at Anant National University about the impact of the dilution of the laws and how this will affect the civilian population.