End of special status for Kashmir

In a landmark decision, India’s Supreme Court has confirmed the end of special status for Kashmir, ordering the region to conduct local elections by September 30, 2024. Critics argue that this move by the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) aims to further tighten control over India’s only Muslim-majority area. The special autonomy, granted in 1947 under Article 370, was revoked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019, dividing the region into two federal territories directly governed by the central government. Despite opposition from Kashmiri political parties, the court upheld Modi’s decision, claiming the special status was always temporary.

The Centre has decided to withdraw the three new criminal law bills from Lok Sabha

The Indian government has withdrawn three criminal law bills from Lok Sabha to incorporate changes recommended by a Parliamentary panel. The Bhartiya Nyay Samhita (BNS) 2023, intended to replace the Indian Penal Code, will now use the term “unsound mind” instead of “mental illness” as a defense. The panel, led by BJP MP Brij Lal, argued that “mental illness” was too broad and could include voluntary intoxication. While the government accepted this modification, it rejected proposals to retain the adultery offense and criminalize non-consensual sex between genders. The revamped bills may face opposition from the INDIA bloc in Parliament.

Another challenge for INDIA

After the BJP’s recent assembly victories in the Hindi heartland states and with the impending inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the Supreme Court’s verdict on Article 370 has introduced another polarizing issue for the INDIA bloc to grapple with ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The divided opinions within the INDIA bloc range from Left and J&K parties expressing disappointment to Shiv Sena welcoming the ruling. While Congress urged a move past the sensitive matter, emphasizing the SC’s conclusion on abrogation, the stance may not align well with J&K parties NC and PDP, which plan to continue their struggle. The alliance is expected to address the issue at its December 19 meeting, possibly focusing on the demand for the restoration of J&K’s statehood. The opposition’s cautious approach stems from BJP’s recent electoral successes and the forthcoming Ram Temple inauguration, as injecting the J&K issue into the discourse could be advantageous for the ruling party.

Another challenge for INDIA

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