The government's decision to scrap Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, is a monumental decision towards national integration, former union minister Arun Jaitley said in a series of tweets after Home Minister Amit Shah's announcement in parliament.
"A historical wrong has been undone today," said Arun Jaitley, who was among Prime Minister Narendra Modi's most senior ministers in the previous BJP government. "My compliments to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for correcting a historical blunder," he tweeted.
Amit Shah said in parliament that the president had signed off on an order that would come into force "at once". The announcement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting of his cabinet at his house this morning.
Jammu and Kashmir will also be "reorganised," said the Home Minister, with the state's bifurcation into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Mr Jaitley said what was a "temporary and transient provision cannot be treated as permanent. It had to go."
He also said the decision of the government would help the people of Jammu and Kashmir the most. "More investment, more industry, more private educational institutions, more jobs and more revenue," the former minister tweeted.
Article 370 gave Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters barring defence, communications and foreign affairs. It also made it necessary for the centre to get the Jammu and Kashmir legislature's approval for introducing any policies or constitutional powers to the state.
The removal of this part of the constitution ends special status for Kashmir, which was key to its accession to India in 1947.
The move has been blasted by Jammu and Kashmir politicians, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who were placed under house arrest at midnight on Sunday as part of an unprecedented lockdown preceding the government's announcement.
"The government of India (GOI)'s unilateral and shocking decisions today are a total betrayal of the trust that the people of Jammu & Kashmir had reposed in India when the State acceded to it in 1947. The decisions will have far-reaching and dangerous consequences. This is an aggression against people of the state as had been warned by an all-parties meeting in Srinagar yesterday," Omar Abdullah tweeted.
Calling it "the darkest day" in India's democracy, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: "What did J&K get for acceding to India? Another partition along communal lines? Our special status isn't a gift bestowed upon us. It's a right guaranteed by the same parliament. A contract entered into by J&K leadership & India. Today the very same contract has been violated."
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