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Jammu and Kashmir[a] was a region formerly administered by India as a state from 1954 to 2019, constituting the southern and southeastern portion of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of a dispute between India, Pakistan and China since the mid-20th century. The underlying region of this state were parts of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, whose western districts, now known as Azad Kashmir, and northern territories, now known as Gilgit-Baltistan, are administered by Pakistan. The Aksai Chin region in the east, bordering Tibet, has been under Chinese control since 1962.
After the Government of India repealed the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian constitution in 2019, the Parliament of India passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, which contained provisions that dissolved the state and reorganised it into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir in the west and Ladakh in the east, with effect from 31 October 2019. At the time of its dissolution, Jammu and Kashmir was the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population.
Since 1989, a prolonged, bloody conflict between the Islamic militant separatists and the Indian Army took place, both of whom have been accused of widespread human rights abuses, including abductions, massacres, rapes and armed robbery.[note 1] Several new militant groups with radical Islamic views emerged and changed the ideological emphasis of the movement to Islamic. This was facilitated by a large influx of Islamic "Jihadi" fighters (mujahadeen) who had entered the Kashmir valley following the end of the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s.
Police and protesters confronting each other in Kashmir, 2018
Following the 2008 Kashmir unrest, secessionist movements in the region were boosted. The 2016-17 Kashmir unrest resulted in the death of over 90 civilians and the injury of over 15,000. Six policemen, including a sub-inspector were killed in an ambush in Anantnag in June 2017, by trespassing militants of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba. An attack on an Indian police convoy in Pulwama, in February 2019, resulted in the deaths of 40 police officers. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by a Pakistan-backed militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The reorganisation act was assented to by the President of India, and came into effect on 31 October 2019. Prior to these measures, the union government locked down the Kashmir Valley, increased security forces, imposed Section 144 that prevented assembly, and placed political leaders such as former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti under house arrest. Internet and phone services were also blocked.
Jammu and Kashmir was the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population. In the Census of India held in 1961, the first to be conducted after the formation of the state, Islam was practised by 68.31% of the population, while 28.45% followed Hinduism. The proportion of population that practised Islam fell to 64.19% by 1981 but recovered afterward. According to the 2011 census, the last to be conducted in the state, Islam was practised by about 68.3% of the state population, while 28.4% followed Hinduism and small minorities followed Sikhism (1.9%), Buddhism (0.9%) and Christianity (0.3%).
The state's official language was Urdu, which occupied a central space in media, education, religious and political discourses and the legislature of Jammu and Kashmir; the language functioned as a symbol of identity among Muslims of South Asia. The first language of less than 1% of the population, it was regarded as a "neutral" and non-native language of the multilingual region, and broadly accepted by Kashmiri Muslims. The dominant position of Urdu has been criticised for rendering Kashmiri into a functional "minority language," effectively restricting its use to households and family.
Jammu and Kashmir was the only state in India which had special autonomy under Article 370 of the Constitution of India, according to which no law enacted by the Parliament of India, except for those in the field of defence, communication and foreign policy, would be extendable in Jammu and Kashmir unless it was ratified by the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir. The state was able to define the permanent residents of the state who alone had the privilege to vote in state elections, the right to seek government jobs and the ability to own land or property in the state.
Jammu and Kashmir was the only Indian state to have its own official state flag, along with India's national flag, in addition to a separate constitution. Designed by the then ruling National Conference, the flag of Jammu and Kashmir featured a plough on a red background symbolising labour; it replaced the Maharaja's state flag. The three stripes represented the three distinct administrative divisions of the state, namely Jammu, Valley of Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Like all the states of India, Jammu and Kashmir had a multi-party democratic system of governance and had a bicameral legislature. At the time of drafting the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, 100 seats were earmarked for direct elections from territorial constituencies. Of these, 25 seats were reserved for the areas of Jammu and Kashmir state that came under Pakistani control; this was reduced to 24 after the 12th amendment of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. After a delimitation in 1988, the total number of seats increased to 111, of which 87 were within Indian-administered territory. The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly had a 6-year term, in contrast to the norm of a 5-year term followed in every other state assemblies.[note 2] In 2005, it was reported that the Indian National Congress-led government in the state intended to amend the term to bring parity with the other states.
In 1990, an Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of India, which gave special powers to the Indian security forces, including the detaining of individuals for up to two years without presenting charges, was enforced in Jammu and Kashmir, a decision which drew criticism from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for violating human rights. Security forces claimed that many missing people were not detained, but had crossed into Pakistan-administered Kashmir to engage in militancy.
The economy of Jammu and Kashmir was predominantly dependent on agriculture and related activities. Horticulture played a vital role in the economic development of the state; produce included apples, apricots, cherries, pears, plums, almonds and walnuts. The Doda district, rich in high-grade sapphire, had active mines until the 1989 insurgency; in 1998, the government discovered that smugglers had occupied these mines and stolen much of the resource. Industrial development was constrained by the extreme mountainous landscape and power shortage.
Jammu and Kashmir was one of the largest recipients of grants from India; in 2004, this amounted to US$812 million. Tourism, which was integral to the economy, witnessed a decline owing to the insurgency, but foreign tourism later rebounded, and in 2009, the state was one among the top tourist destinations in India. The economy was also benefited by Hindu pilgrims who visited the shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath Temple annually. The British government had reiterated its advise against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir in 2013, with certain exceptions.
^Akhtar, Rais; Kirk, William, Jammu and Kashmir, State, India, Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved 2019 (subscription required) Quote: "Jammu and Kashmir, state of India, located in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent in the vicinity of the Karakoram and westernmost Himalayan mountain ranges. The state is part of the larger region of Kashmir, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947."
^"219 Kashmiri Pandits killed by militants since 1989". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 2007. The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday said 219 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by militants since 1989 while 24,202 families were among the total 38,119 families which migrated out of the Valley due to turmoil
^"Not myth, but the truth of migration". Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 2007. The Pandits have preserved the threat letters sent to them. They have the audio and video evidence to show what happened. They have preserved the local newspapers through which they were warned to leave the Valley within 48 hours. This evidence also include still photographs of Pandits killed by militants and the desecrated temples.
^"19/01/90: When Kashmiri Pandits fled Islamic terror". Rediff. Archived from the original on 26 January 2017. Retrieved 2007. Notices are pasted on doors of Pandit houses, peremptorily asking the occupants to leave Kashmir within 24 hours or face death and worse... In the preceding months, 300 Hindu men and women, nearly all of them Kashmiri Pandits, had been slaughtered following the brutal murder of Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, noted lawyer and BJP national executive member, by the JKLF in Srinagar on September 14, 1989. Soon after that, Justice N K Ganju of the Srinagar high court was shot dead. Pandit Sarwanand Premi, 80-year-old poet, and his son were kidnapped, tortured, their eyes gouged out, and hanged to death. A Kashmiri Pandit nurse working at the Soura Medical College Hospital in Srinagar was gang-raped and then beaten to death. Another woman was abducted, raped and sliced into bits and pieces at a sawmill.
^District Census Handbook Kishtwar, Part B(PDF). Census of India 2011 (Report). 18 June 2014. pp. 9, 10, 22. Retrieved 2020. Part B page 9 says the rural area is 1643.65 sq km, whilst pages 10 and 22 says 1643.37 sq km.
^District Census Handbook Ganderbal, Part B(PDF). Census of India 2011 (Report). July 2016. pp. 11, 12 and 22. Retrieved 2020. Part B page 11 says the district area is 393.04 sq km, but pages 12 and 22 say 259.00 sq km.