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Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and the Asian Studies Centre, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford are launching a series of five panel discussions with leading academics, ‘Understanding Kashmir and The Nullification of article 370: Law, History and Politics’. The first panel on ‘The Princely State and Its Political Legacy’ took place on 2nd November 2021.

On 5th August 2019, the government of India unilaterally revoked the state of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status by abrogating Article 370 which had come to symbolise the state’s relative autonomy in India’s federal Constitution. The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was thereafter split into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh under direct central rule. While the events leading up to the revocation and the events that have followed since have captured wide international attention, the act of revocation itself represents a watershed constitutional moment in India’s legal and political history.

Making sense of the moment, however, requires inquiries at three distinct levels. First, it requires deep interrogation of the political context of Article 370 in the background of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to the Indian republic; second, it required thinking about the working of Article 370 in the seventy years of the Indian republic; Lastly, the moment of abrogation itself needs to be broken down into the series of complex legal acts through which it came about.

This Symposium thus seeks to bring together legal scholars, anthropologists, historians and political theorists to discuss and debate the abrogation of Article 370 from a multi-disciplinary perspective and shed light on the many ways of understanding it. Through these conversations, it aims to discuss the larger implications of this constitutional moment for democracy and constitutionalism in India.

Speakers for Panel 1

  • DR AMAR SOHAL, Early-Career Research Fellow in Politics and International Studies at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge
  • IFFAT RASHID, PHD Student, University of Oxford
  • PROFESSOR MRIDU RAI, Department of History, Presidency University, Kolkata

The discussion was moderated by Professor Faisal Devji, Professor of Indian History & Director of the Asian Studies Centre, University of Oxford.