In brief

Indian government avoids committing to restore special autonomous status to Kashmir

Kashmir leaders call on PM Modi to grant statehood at least

Modi presides over the meeting with leaders of Jammu and Kashmir.
Modi presides over the meeting with leaders of Jammu and Kashmir. Author: Office of the Prime Minister of India
The Indian government has dragged its feet on demands by a group of Kashmiri leaders for the Himalayan territory to regain the special autonomous status it used to enjoy until 2019, when New Delhi revoked it. Narendra Modi’s government, however, does plan to hold an election to the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, which has been dissolved since 2018.

The election will take place, Modi said, once the boundaries of the constituencies have been demarcated.

Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and other members of the Indian executive this week met with 14 Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) leaders, including four former chief ministers of the former state, in the first high-level meeting after India decided on 5 August 2019 to suspend the autonomy of J&K and dissolve the state.

The former state was divided into two union territories administered from New Delhi: J&K and Ladakh.

Most Kashmir leaders have called for Jammu and Kashmir to become a state again. Some have further demanded the restoration of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The article limited the Indian Parliament’s ability to make certain laws for J&K and allowed the state to have its own constitution. J&K was the only state in the Indian federation to have such a special treatment.

The Indian government has announced that Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood will be restored, but has not committed to restoring the special status and powers it had until 2019. The Indian Supreme Court is considering whether the revocation of special status was illegal.

The removal of special status was followed by repressive action by the Indian authorities in Kashmir, as we explained in these 2019 and 2021 articles.