Guwahati: The week started with much anticipation and anxiety. The fate of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) posed a big question in the minds of millions of citizens, within the state and nationwide. By mid-day, things took a long awaited turn as Union home minister Amit Shah announced the government’s plan to scrap Article 370 which gives special status to the state.
Amidst much chaos, Shah announed in Rajya Sabha that Jammu & Kashmir will be “reorganised” and no longer be a state. It will be made into a Union territory (UT) with an assembly and Ladakh will be made into a UT without an assembly.
This announcement comes after the government issued an advisory warning on Friday for Amarnath yatra pilgrims and tourists to leave the state. Precautionary measures and Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ) are in effect, and top politicians and ex-chief ministers have been put under house-arrest since Sunday mid-night. Internet services too are suspended.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah had an hour-long closed-door meeting prior to the session on Monday morning.
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What is a Union Territory?
A Union Territory or UT as an administrative division controlled by the Central government. It does not have a separate Legislative Assembly or a government of its own, they a federal territories governed by the union governmnet. The President of India appoints an administrator or lieutenant-governor for UTs.
India currently has seven UTs: Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry and National Capital Territory of Delhi.
With the announcent on Monday, Ladakh division of J&K will be given the status of a UT without legislature, joining the likes of Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
While, Jammu and Kashmir will join the likes of The National Capital Territory of Delhi and Puducherry with their own legislatures, having their own constituent assembly and a chief minister.
The UTs with elected legislative assembly function partially like a state but with restrictions as mentioned in the Constitution.