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India’s top court upholds end of special status for Kashmir, orders polls
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India’s top court upholds end of special status for Kashmir, orders polls

India’s Supreme Court upheld on Dec 11 a 2019 decision by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revoke extraordinary status for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It also set a deadline of Sept 30, 2024, for state polls to be held. The territory of Jammu and Kashmir is India’s only Muslim-majority area.

It has been at the heart of more than 75 years of animosity with adjacent nation Pakistan since the birth of the two nations in 1947 at sovereignty from colonial rule by Britain. The unanimous order by a panel of five judges came in reply to more than a dozen petitions. They had challenged the revocation and a subsequent decision to split the area into two federally administered territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and the Buddhist territory of Ladakh.

The ruling sets the stage for elections in the area, which was more intimately integrated with India after the government’s contentious move, taken in line with a prominent longstanding pledge of Mr Modi’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The challengers kept up their efforts so that only the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir could decide on the extraordinary status of the mountain area. They also contested whether Parliament had the power to revoke it.