On August 5, 2019, the Government of India introduced a slew of measures, unilaterally and undemocratically, which, in effect, revoked the special status granted to the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), by virtue of Article 370 of the Constitution. Before we understand the import of what changes have been streamrolled, it is important to understand the historical background of Article 370.
At the time of independence in 1947, the Indian Independence Act came into force, which gave an option to the 565 Indian Princely States, including the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh, to either remain independent, or join the Dominion of India or the Dominion of Pakistan. Though most Princely States signed an instrument of accession with India, the State of Jammu & Kashmir did not, since Maharaja Hari Singh wanted to remain independent.
However, just few months later, on 20th October, 1947, Jammu & Kashmir was attacked by armed tribesmen from Pakistan, creating panic in Maharaja Hari Singh who did not have sufficient local army to quell the attack, and to protect the territory. Accordingly, he sought India’s help, and signed the instrument of accession with India on 27th October, 1947.