New Delhi: 

The two new Union territories– Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh– will come into existence on October 31, the 144th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

The bill to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir, already passed by parliament, was approved by President Ram Nath Kovind today.

It was sent to the President after it sailed through the Lok Sabha last week, with some opposition parties walking out, bringing down the majority mark, and others siding with the government. It had already been passed in the Rajya Sabha.

During subsequent debates in parliament, references to Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel had also come up, with the Congress and the BJP clashing over who was responsible for bringing Article 370 in the Constitution.

Home Minister Amit Shah last week announced in parliament that special status to Jammu and Kashmir powered by Article 370 was scrapped by a presidential order. He also announced the bifurcation of the state, amid raucous opposition from the Congress.

Preceding the announcement, a large number of paramilitary troops was moved into the Valley, leading to unrest in the state. A day before the decision, several leaders including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest.

Precautionary measures were taken by the state government after the move. Mobile communications were suspended and restrictions on gatherings were placed.

The Congress had led the opposition protests against the Kashmir decisions along with a handful of parties– the Samajwadi Party, the DMK, Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Left parties– saying stakeholders were not consulted before the decision.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the nation that Jammu and Kashmir will not remain a Union Territory for long. He assured that the situation in the state would return to normal soon.

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