What is Article 370?

Article 370: History, Revocation, and the Changing Landscape of Jammu & Kashmir


Article 370 was a provision in the Indian Constitution that granted special autonomous status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. This autonomy included:

  • A separate constitution for Jammu and Kashmir
  • Limited jurisdiction of the Indian Parliament over the state (except in matters of defense, foreign affairs, and communications)
  • Exemptions from certain laws passed by the Indian Parliament
  • Distinct state flag and citizenship rights

Historical Context

  • Accession to India (1947): After India’s independence and partition, Jammu & Kashmir’s ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, initially sought to remain independent. In the face of a tribal invasion, he signed the Instrument of Accession with India, leading to the state’s integration.
  • Special Status: Article 370 was framed to reflect the unique conditions under which Jammu & Kashmir joined India, providing a degree of autonomy while integrating the region with the Indian Union.

Arguments Surrounding Article 370

  • Proponents: Argued that Article 370 preserved Jammu & Kashmir’s distinct identity, protected its demographics, and ensured a degree of self-governance.
  • Opponents: Contended that the provision bred separatism, hindered economic development, and was an obstacle to full integration with India.

Revocation of Article 370 (2019)

On August 5, 2019, the Indian government revoked most provisions of Article 370 and reorganized the state into two union territories – Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh. This decision had far-reaching implications:

  • Centralization of Governance: The move placed Jammu & Kashmir under greater direct control of the Indian Central Government.
  • Legal Integration: Laws passed by the Indian Parliament now apply directly to the region.
  • Political Debate: The revocation sparked intense political debate, with proponents citing potential benefits for development and security, while critics raised concerns over democratic rights and increased tensions.

Impact on Jammu & Kashmir

The revocation of Article 370 significantly altered Jammu & Kashmir’s political and legal landscape. While the full impact is yet to be fully assessed, here are some notable changes and ongoing issues:

  • Security Restrictions: The revocation was accompanied with security measures and communication blackouts, which were gradually eased.
  • Political Participation: New electoral delimitation exercises and local body elections aim to re-establish political processes.
  • Demographic Concerns: Changes to land ownership laws raised fears of shifting demographics, leading to anxieties within certain communities.
  • Human Rights: Concerns persist about restrictions on civil liberties and allegations of human rights abuses.


The revocation of Article 370 was a watershed moment with ongoing ramifications for Jammu & Kashmir and its relationship with India. The path ahead is likely to see legal challenges, evolving political dynamics, and continued debate on the impact of this historical decision.

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