People of the Northeast India fear that the special status enjoyed by many states is now under threat, says senior Congress leader Padi Richo in his petition at Supreme Court Credit: File image

Itanagar: Senior Congress leader from Arunachal Pradesh and North East Co-ordination Congress Committee general secretary Padi Richo has filed a petition at the Supreme Court challenging the abrogation of Article 370 articulating how the move has triggered fear among the Northeastern states which too enjoy special powers like Jammu & Kashmir.

The petition filed by Richo on Thursday highlighted several points, especially the apprehensions of the people of the Northeastern states who fear that the special status enjoyed by many of the said states is now under threat.

In the petition, Richo has appealed the Supreme Court to declare the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) order dated August 5, in exercise of the purported power under Article 370(1) (d), upon the concurrence of the governor, and not an elected state government as “ultra vires” to the Constitution of India.

The petition also appeals the top court of country to declare the Presidential order dated August 6, in GSR No. 552 (E), which invoked the power under Article 370 (3) to amend Article 370, and extend all provisions of the Constitution of India to the state, upon the recommendation of Parliament, and not the Constituent Assembly of the State of Jammu and Kashmir or its Legislative Assembly, which stood dissolved as “ultra vires” to the Constitution of India.

Declaring the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which bifurcated the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories of i) Jammu and Kashmir and ii) Ladakh as ultra vires to the Constitution of India is the third prayer made by the petitioner.

Speaking to EastMojo, Richo said that when the BJP formed its coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then home minister Rajnath Singh had assured that Article 370 will not be scrapped from the state, however, they failed to live up to their assurance.

“This step taken by the BJP has now raised apprehensions among the people of the Northeast and the question that many are asking is if they can do this to J&K, there is every chance they can do the same to us,” he said.

The Congress turned a country (J&K) into a state and BJP made it a Union Territory. So what is the guarantee that the people of the Northeast will not face the same fate and Article 371 will not be abrogated, he further questioned.

Besides Meghalaya and Tripura, all the other six states of the Northeast are protected by Article 371 which gives them special status like that of the state of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir.

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The safeguards reflect themselves in Article 371-A for Nagaland, Article 371-B for Assam, Article 371-C for Manipur, Article 371-F for Sikkim, Article 371-G for Mizoram, and Article 371-H for the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

They are also further enshrined in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India, which provides for autonomous units within the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, in the tribal areas mentioned in the said Schedule.

The said provisions protect these states in a way which permits them to preserve their unique set of customs and rituals.

Home minister Amit Shah, Union minister of state for development of Northeastern region Jitendra Singh and Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu have already allayed the fears about Article 371 and assured that the Article will stay as it is.

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