News Wrap


The BJP-led NDA government in India, on 05 Aug 2019, revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir, and secured Rajya Sabha's approval for a Bill to bifurcate J and K state into two Union territories: Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature similar to Puducherry, and Ladakh without one like Chandigarh. Article 370 gave J and K its own constitution and decision-making rights, for all matters barring defense, communications and foreign affairs. It was necessary for the union government, under Article 370, to get the State's legislature's approval for introducing any policies or constitutional powers to the state. Its removal ends special status for Kashmir, which was key to its accession to India in 1947. The Article 35 A was made part of the Indian constitution in 1954 through a presidential order. Its genesis goes back to early 20th Century Dogra apprehensions of an influx from Punjab. The article defined who is a permanent resident of J and K, and lays down laws restricting property purchase and ownership to such permanent residents. It also discriminated against women, depriving them of their state subject rights, if they married non-permanent residents. The J and K High Court ruled against this aspect in 2002. The 05 August 2019 Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) order 2019, supersedes the 1954 order, in effect scrapping Article 35A. The constitution order 2019, was issued by the president under Article 370, Clause I, with the concurrence of the "government of J and K" "Government" here means the Governor.

J and K will now have no separate flag or constitution. Tenure of Assembly will be for 5 years, Not 6. Indian Penal Code will replace Ranbir Penal code. People from other states are now eligible to purchase land and properties. Non-permanent residents can permanently settle in the state. Outsiders can now be employed in state government and companies. They will be eligible for scholarships in state run educational institutions. The Right to Information Act will be applicable in J and K. This is for the first time after the 1956 states reorganization that a full-fledged state has been relegated to a union territory (or Two). Since 1989, over 41,500 people were killed in J and K.

Recent reports indicate that 49 Temples have been built on government land in Delhi. Around 3000 Temples across India in earlier centuries, were converted into mosques. At Ajodhya Ram Janma bhoomi in Uttar Pradesh, there was a Mandir, which was replaced with a structure by Mir Barqui, around 1530 A.D. Unusual for a mosque, the edifice was without a minaret or a "Wazoor". Many responsible Muslims avoid praying in edifices which were earlier used for worship by non-believers. The structure at Ajodhya was probably a "maqbara" or mausoleum for Babar or for Mir Baqui. Over time someone called it a mosque. At some stage the Shias lost interest and the local Sunnis took over. The head of the Shia Personal Law Board, Janaab Rizui has declared that his community wishes Hindus to build a Temple. The Sunni personal Law Board is fighting the case in the Supreme Court. Ajmer Sharif was earlier a mandir. Aurangjeb's mosque continues in Varanasi. There is no photograph of the Babri structure without the domes, between 06 December 1992 and 09 December 1992. The erstwhile edifice has been demolished. Ram Lalla's "murti" is now in a tent temple. The places of Worship Act, 1991 stipulates that no place of worship could be changed from the shape or form it was in at the time of Independence. However, as an exception the Babri edifice at Ajodhya could be altered.

The rift between South Korea and Japan has its roots in colonial history and wartime animosity. It has brought trade sanctions from Japan, and it is also jeopardising military co-operation and the renewal of an intelligence sharing agreement. South Korea's fighter jets had fired 360 warning shots at a Russian military aircraft that had intruded into its air space in the fourth week of July 2019. South Korea maintains that Russian and Chinese planes had penetrated its self-declared Korean Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ), an area around its borders, where it requires foreign planes to notify it of entry. There is a growing military co-operation between China and Russia, which appear to have been conducting a joint patrol around South Korea. A patchwork of territorial disputes continues. The alleged Russia—China air incursions took place over the waters around islands known as Dokdo by South Korea, which controls them, and Takeshima by Japan, which also claims them. Jets were scrambled by Japan, and has protested to both Russia for violating its air space, and South Korea for firing in it. Japan and China contest the Senkaku or Diaoyu islands. In 2013, China announced its own Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over these islands. South Korea then expanded the KADIZ. The air zones of South Korea, Japan and China overlap. Between April 2018 and March 2019, Japan scrambled its jets 999 times in response to aerial incursions: two thirds of them by China over the Senkakus, the rest by Russia over yet more disputed islands to the North of Japan. Frequently South Korean pilots respond to Chinese forays into the KADIZ.

Back to Home Page

Vol. 52, No. 8, Aug 25 - 31, 2019