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Why Is Kashmir Burning?

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This is with reference to the editorial, “Clear Message from Kashmir” (EPW, 15 April 2017). The abysmally low voter turnout (7.14%) in the Srinagar parliamentary constituency on 9 April has rightly been interpreted in the editorial as “a resoundingly clear statement that Kashmiris are disillusioned with India’s constitutional institutions.”

The disenchantment of the people of Kashmir with the Indian state is organically connected with the constitutional history of India. The Constitution of India, which came into force on 26 January 1950, accorded special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. In his recent book, Article 370: A Constitutional History of Jammu and Kashmir (2011), A G Noorani has shown, on the basis of “often unseen and unnoticed, letters, memoranda, white papers, proclamations and amendments,” the gradual erosion of Article 370 and the politics behind it. To put it in the words of eminent scholar Amitabh Mattoo: “A series of Presidential Orders has eroded Article 370 substantially … In fact, today the autonomy enjoyed by the State is a shadow of its former self.”

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Updated On : 12th May, 2017

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