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HomeEditorialScrapping of Article 370-Kudos BJP for delivering promise

Scrapping of Article 370-Kudos BJP for delivering promise

Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been removed by union government. President Ram Nath Kovind had signed an order that would come into force “at once”. After playing politics with the situation since Independence we are finally taking a step towards stripping this state of the artificiality injected into it. Article 35A has to go too. It would have been best had the state been trifurcated, with Jammu being the third component. This will then confine the anti-India elements to just the valley. Omar and Mufti both should understand the miserable situation they have created all these years leaving their community people hopeless. Now the reform is going to come and they should accept it without any disputes. A historical blunder is corrected after 72 years. Separate status had virtually emboldened separatist elements to muster courage and call for a separate country, collide with Pakistani forces to destabilize the state and to keep the people under an eternal poverty with no growth and development agenda.

It is really disgraceful that PDP and NC have been playing politics with this issue for so long. If they had the country’s interest first, they’d have convinced their constituency to give up violence, to get educated, and to improve their standard of living, rather than throwing stones and shouting anti-India slogans. Three generation of Sheikh Abdullah, Dr. Farook Abdullah and Janab Omar Abdullah ruled J&K then came Janab Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his daughter Miss Mehbooba. Same dynasty rule was there. Terrorists aggravated the valley and dragged younger generation to join in their group. No education, the students had to leave J&K for higher studies to neighbouring states but all cannot afford this. To restore normalcy in the valley strong step against the terrorist’s organization is must.

The announcement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting of his cabinet at his house on Monday morning. Jammu and Kashmir also be “reorganised,” with the state’s bifurcation into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Amid massive protests by the opposition in parliament and parties in Jammu and Kashmir, the centre has moved 8,000 paramilitary troops from different parts of the country to Kashmir. The removal of Article 370 of the constitution ends special status for Kashmir, which was key to its accession to India in 1947. Article 370 made it necessary for the centre to get the state legislature’s approval for introducing any policies or constitutional powers to the state. Jammu and Kashmir will cease to be a state and become two union territories with two Lieutenant Governors. Ladakh will be a Union Territory without a legislature and Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature.

The Union Territory (UT) for Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature but there will be no Assembly in Ladakh. The UT of Ladakh was a long pending demand of the people of the region and the decision was aimed at fulfilling the aspiration of the local population.

Jammu and Kashmir’s special status is defined under Article 370 of Indian Constitution. When India gained independence from Britain, Jammu and Kashmir initially chose to remain independent and signed agreements with India and Pakistan, as per the provisions of India Independence act 1947. However after an invasion bid from Pakistan, the state ended up signing an Instrument of Accession with Union of India. Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications were the only three matters governed by the original instrument of accession and at the time of drafting the Indian Constitution it was proposed that only those provisions of the Indian Constitution would apply to the State.

Article 370 was thus incorporated in the Indian Constitution to give special status to the state. This permits the state to draft its own constitution and restricted the Indian Parliament’s legislative powers on the state, related to matters outside the original Instrument of Accession.

Under Article 370 of the constitution, the state of Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed complete autonomy and the state legislature was free to draft its own laws except in the areas of communications, defence, finance, and foreign affairs.

Article 35A of India’s Constitution permits the local legislature in Indian-controlled Kashmir to define permanent residents of the region. The article came into being in 1954 by a presidential order under the constitution’s Article 370, which grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir state.

Article 35A forbids Indians from outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs or winning education scholarships in the region. Article 35A also gave the J&K government the right to decide who qualifies as a ‘permanent resident’. The permanent resident is subject to some special rights. The article, referred to as the Permanent Residents Law, also bars female residents of Jammu and Kashmir from property rights in the event that they marry a person from outside the state. The provision also extends to such women’s children. The Article also says none of the above laws can be held as void on the ground that it takes away the rights conferred on other citizens of the country. While Article 35A has remained unchanged, some aspects of Article 370 have been diluted over the decades. If Kashmir’s special status is repealed, people from the rest of India would have the right to acquire property in Jammu and Kashmir and settle there forever. Kashmiris fear this would lead to a demographic transformation of region from majority Muslim to majority Hindu.

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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