A new State comprising three distinct religions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh was formed with Maharaja Gulab Singh as its founder ruler. It was established on 14 May 1954.
Popularly known as the “Paradise on Earth”, Jammu and Kashmir is world famous for its scenic splendour, snow-capped mountains, plentiful wildlife, exquisite monuments, hospitable people and local handicrafts.
Jammu and Kashmir is a region administered by India as a union territory and consists of the southern portion of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, and between India and China since 1962. The Line of Control separates Jammu and Kashmir from the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the west and north. It lies to the north of the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and to the west of Ladakh, which is also subject to the dispute as a part of Kashmir, and administered by India as a union territory.
Provisions for the formation of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir were contained within the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which was passed by both houses of the Parliament of India in August 2019. The act re-constituted the former state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, with effect from 31 October 2019.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir was accorded special status by Article 370 of the Constitution of India. In contrast to other states of India, Jammu and Kashmir had its own constitution, flag and administrative autonomy. Indian citizens from other states were not allowed to purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir had three distinct areas: Hindu-majority Jammu region, Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley and Buddhist-dominated Ladakh. Unrest and violence persisted in the Kashmiri Valley and, following a disputed state election in 1987, an insurgency persisted in protest over autonomy and rights.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in the 2014 Indian general election and five years later included in their 2019 election manifesto the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, in order to bring Jammu and Kashmir to equal status with other states.
A resolution to repeal Article 370 was passed by both the houses of the Parliament of India in August 2019. At the same time, a reorganisation act was also passed, which would reconstitute the state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The reorganisation took effect from 31 October 2019.
In September 2019 nearly 4,000 people, including two former Chief Ministers and hundreds of other politicians, were arrested by the Indian authorities in Kashmir; the state was put under a lockdown and communication and internet services were suspended.
Jammu and Kashmir is home to several valleys such as the Kashmir Valley, Chenab Valley, Sindh Valley and Lidder Valley. Some major tourist attractions in Jammu and Kashmir are Srinagar, the Mughal Gardens, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Patnitop and Jammu. Every year, thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit holy shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath which has had significant impact on the state’s economy.
The Kashmir valley is one of the top tourist destinations of India. Gulmarg, one of the most popular ski resort destinations in India, is also home to the world’s highest green golf course. The decrease in violence in the state has boosted the state’s economy, specifically tourism.
Jammu and Kashmir is also famous for its scenic beauty, flower gardens, apple farms and more. It attracts tourists for its unique handicrafts and the world-famous Kashmiri Shawls.
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