Article 370: Centre’s move in Jammu and Kashmir sparks fears in Mizoram

The abrogation of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, raised apprehensions in Mizoram on Monday, with academicians and politicians fearing that the NDA government might scrap next the special provisions that protect the interests of the states indigenous people. Article 371 G of the Constitution states that the Parliament cannot decide on the matters of the religious and social practices of the Mizos, civil and criminal law of the land, land ownership transfer, and customary law procedure without the consent of the Assembly. The provision came into effect in 1986 following the signing of the historic Mizo Accord between the Centre and the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF). Mizoram, then a Union territory, was granted the status of full-fledged statehood on February 20, 1987. Lallianchhunga, assistant professor of the political science department in the Mizoram University, alleged that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government had been violating the federal spirits of the Constitution and moving towards a unitary government. The Centre, in the name of economic development and internal security, may soon target the northeastern states with special provisions and statutes, he said. Riachho, a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, said the Centre did not honour the Instrument of Accession signed on October 26, 1947, by Hari Singh, the then ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. According to the IAS officer, it seemed that the Article 371 G in Mizoram might also come under danger. Newly-floated political party Peoples Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) also condemned the Centres move, saying the northeastern states were no longer safe in the hands of the NDA government. The Centre had on Monday revoked Article 370 and proposed that the Jammu and Kashmir be bifurcated into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.