‘“232 days after my detention, today I finally left Hari Niwas. It’s a very different world today to the one that existed on 5th August 2019,” tweeted former CM Omar Abdullah after his release.
As Omar emerged from the Hari Niwas guest house, it marked his first day as a free man in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Since his detention, erstwhile J&K State’s political landscape saw a sea change. The move to abrogate special status of J&K to downgrading the state to Union Territory and bifurcating it was made by J&K Re-organization Act 2019.
While Omar was in detention several foreign delegations visited J&K, though these delegations were denied permission to meet detained leaders.
Before Omar’s arrest, J&K was the only state in India which had its own constitution. Now there is no separate constitution of J&K.
In erstwhile J&K, the citizens of the state enjoyed dual citizenship which was of the state and that of India. After abrogation of Article 370 there is only one citizenship.
Prior to August 2019, only people who had citizenship of J&K could buy property here. Now, Indian citizens from other states of the country can buy and sell property in J&K. Though there has been assurance from the central as well as the UT administration that domicile rights of J&K people will be protected,
The erstwhile J&K State had two different flags – of India and the state -hoisted at Secretariat and other places. Now, there is no separate flag for J&K.
Before dilution of special status, citizens of J&K had separate laws related to citizenship, ownership of property and fundamental rights. Now there is uniform law applicable to rest of the India.
Now, central laws are directly applicable and centre can declare financial emergencies under Article 360 in J&K.
There have been geographical changes too in J&K during this period.
Jammu and Kashmir was a state with separate provisions where Ladakh was a part of the state. Now, J&K is a Union Territory with legislature while Ladakh is a separate Union Territory without any legislature.
Except for defense, foreign affairs, finance, and communications, Parliament needed the state government’s approval for applying any laws. The Parliament can now implement any law without J&K’s approval which also includes changing the name and its boundaries.
Recently, the central government has set the ball rolling for delimitation of J&K which would redefine boundaries of assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in the UT.