Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his speech mentioned last month’s change to Article 370 of India's constitution, which revoked the special status given to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
In addition, the Indian government downgraded the state’s federal status as well.
The special status gave the Muslim-majority state unique levels of autonomy. In place since 1949, it gives Jammu and Kashmir the power to have its own constitution, flag and autonomy over all matters, save for certain policy areas such as a foreign affairs and defense.
Modi stated that the action taken was in the best interest for the residents.
“The people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been deprived of equal rights. The forces fanning terrorism and separatism were exploiting this situation,” he said.
The Indian government deployed tens of thousands of troops in the state, most of them concentrated in Indian-controlled Kashmir – one of the most militarized regions in the world.
Hours before the announcement, all communications in and out of the state were cut off – a condition that continues for the 8th week in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The Indian government has repeatedly justified the communications blackout as a security measure and has said that it will be lifted gradually.
The steps taken on August 5 have been met with criticism from human rights activists as thousands of Kashmiris have been unable to communicate with their families for weeks.
Lauding the parliamentarians who helped pass the law by a two-thirds majority within two days, Modi asked the crowd to give them and their work a standing ovation.
“The Indian constitution which gave rights to other Indians will now give the same rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” said Modi.