A thorough analysis by Vikramaditya Sangwan, India Correspondent

The row over article 370 escalated with Jammu and Kashmir’s political parties as well as Congress opposing any move to revoke the constitutional provision guaranteeing special status to the state and the RSS stressing that the state would remain an integral part of India while simultaneously attacking Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for suggesting otherwise.

The state’s ruling National Conference and its coalition partner, the Congress, as well as the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) reacted strongly to Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh’s statement that talks had been started with stakeholders to begin the revocation process.

Abdullah asked the central government to come clean on the “stakeholders” it was talking to on the contentious issue.”We will oppose the move tooth and nail. Since it is the minister of state in the PMO talking, it is a policy matter. They (central government) must come clean and share who are the stakeholders they have talked to,” he told journalists in Srinagar.

Soon after Jitendra Singh’s statement, Abdullah said: “Jammu and Kashmir would not be part of India if Article 370, which grants special status to the state, is revoked.””Mark my words & save this tweet – long after Modi Govt is a distant memory either Jammu&Kashmir won’t be part of India or Art 370 will still exist,” he had tweeted.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh hit back at Abdullah, saying the state would remain an integral part of India irrespective of Article 370 being repealed or not.”Jammu & Kashmir won’t be part of India? Is Omar thinking it’s his parental estate? (Article) 370 or no 370, Jammu & Kashmir has been and will always be an integral part of India,” RSS spokesman Ram Madhav tweeted.

So what exactly is the Article 370 and why is it so important to Jammu and Kashmir?

According to the Constitution of India, Article 370 provides temporary provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy. The article says that the provisions of Article 238, which was omitted from the Constitution in 1956 when Indian states were reorganised, shall not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.Dr BR Ambedkar, the principal drafter of the Indian Constitution, had refused to draft Article 370.In 1949, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had directed Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah to consult Ambedkar (then law minister) to prepare the draft of a suitable article to be included in the Constitution.

Except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communication, all other laws passed by Indian Parliament need to be okayed by the state government before they are made applicable. This was specified in the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh when he agreed to join the Union of India in 1947, instead of going with Pakistan.As a result of this, the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir are governed by state-specific laws which come under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, instead of those for the rest of India, especially where citizenship, ownership of property and some fundamental rights are concerned.

This article, along with Article 5 that defines the contours of jurisdiction of Indian Parliament regarding lawmaking for the state, cannot be amended.The 1952 Delhi Agreement also specified that the state should have its own flag in addition to the Union flag and they should have the same status.

This arrangement was further ratified by the 1974 agreement between the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the then Jammu & Kashmir Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah (appointed by Hari Singh).It was agreed that head of state called Sadar-i-Riyasat (or the Prime Minister) was to be elected by the state legislature.

The agreement opposed imposition of Article 352, empowering the President to proclaim general emergency in the state. The state legislature has a six-year term, unlike other elected bodies, which have a five-year period, including our Parliament.

In a nutshell

#The Supreme Court of India has no jurisdiction in Jammu & Kashmir.

#Disrespecting the Tricolour and other national symbols is not a crime in the state.

#Jammu & Kashmir residents enjoy dual citizenship. They will lose their Jammu & Kashmir citizenship if they marry residents of other states.

#A Pakistani resident gains Jammu & Kashmir citizenship if he marries a Jammu & Kashmir citizen.

#RTE, RTI, CAG and majority of Indian laws are not applicable in the state.

#Because of Article 370, no outsider (anyone who is not a native Kashmiri) can purchase land in Jammu & Kashmir.

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