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Article 35A: A political agenda or an unconstitutional conflict?

Article 35A
72 years have passed since India had gained independence along with its neighbor. Since then we have come a long way and have achieved enormous milestones. Indians are standing strong in each aspect. But there is something that didn’t change since 15 August 1947. We are unapologetically feeding controversies. Controversies that have witnessed massacre, violence, and revolt.

The crown of Indian peninsula Jammu and Kashmir has always proved to be a problematic figure for the country too. The nihilist, donnish and conservative mindset of certain ill-minded Jihadis and Ministers have hindered the growth of Jammu and Kashmir. Regular implementation of curfew in the valley has obstructed the pace of life and development.

Such beautiful and eye-pleasing valley has always been a hot topic in the politics and media of the two frenemies; India and Pakistan. The mesmerizing beauty of Kashmir is outplayed by the blood-shed.

Apart from blood-shed, an issue that has always been controversial is the existence of Act 370 and Article 35A. The laws made to preserve the rights have always been debatable. In spite of special status in the Indian constitution, Jammu and Kashmir are much more underdeveloped in comparison to other states.

What is Article 35A?

Article 35A which safeguards rights and guarantees unique identity to the citizens of J&K was brought into action in the year 1954 by then President Rajendra Prasad on the request of Prime Minister J.L. Nehru and his cabinet. It is a provision that empowers the parliament of Jammu And Kashmir to define who are its permanent residents and what are their special powers. It prohibits non-Kashmiri residents from purchasing land within its province.

What is Article 370?

After the partition, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir Hari Singh was under tremendous pressure to make a decision regarding the establishment of independent Kashmir or joining one of the divided nations. But Maharaja couldn’t manage time to think over it and make an appropriate decision as J&K was attacked by the Pakistani militants. Maharaja sought help from the Indian government which was provided on the sake attachment of J&K within Indian province. But the negotiation was bounded by a condition to provide special status to the state and its citizen. And this special status of “VISHESH RAJYA” exists in the form of Article 370 in our constitution.

Till the date, the article was published, 7 petitions are pending against 35A in the supreme court. It’s challenged by the activists on the following grounds:

Right to Equality

It prohibits refugees from buying land within the province of the state. They cannot enroll in government jobs or in government institutions. They are boycotted from elections concerned with the local bodies and assembly.

Freedom of Speech

Refugees do not have any say in the internal matters of Jammu and Kashmir. Neither the government of Jammu and Kashmir is answerable to them. Their sayings remain unheard.

Dignity of woman

35A cancels the citizenship of a woman who marries to a non-Kashmiri resident. Such provisions degrade the dignity of women. Women uphold an equal percentage of votes in the elections, even though such malpractices

Right to Life

The life and condition of residents categorized as refuges are miserable. They are deprived of the facilities which are provided to the residents owning citizenship of Jammu and Kashmir. In spite of residing from decades, they are unable to seed any possession of the land and build their own house. They are bound to reside in a rented house. Apparently, Government of J&K is not answerable to them.

Unconstitutional

President isn’t allowed by the constitution to make a change with its provisions.Only legislature is allowed to do so in accordance with the pre-stated set of instructions.

Many people who chose to settle in Kashmir after partition are still deprived of their right to be termed as the citizen of the state. Hindu families who migrated from West Pakistan are still considered to be as refugees in their own motherland. More than 5,700 Hindu families who migrated in 1947 are still waiting for their civil rights. Leave apart the migrations from West Pakistan, the Valmikis and other communities who emigrated from different states of India are also termed as refugees. Such communities of migrants and emigrants are restricted to cast their vote only in Lok Sabha elections and aren’t allowed to be an active member of the local and assembly related electoral events.

BJP holds a clear stand that both Articles 35A and 370 must be demolished and has aimed this in successive election manifestos, including in 2019. In contrary to that the major parties of J&K have warned them from interfering in their internal matters. Their speeches depict furious signs of revolt.

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