As the debate around Article 35-A rages on, I put across some important facts that will clear the smog of confusion formed due to the rhetoric of so called ‘mainstream politicians’.
What is Article 35-A?
“Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution is an article that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents”.
“Article 370 of the Indian constitution is an article that grants special autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The article is drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution: Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions”.
The then Maharaja (Hari Singh) of Independent J&K had signed the “Instrument of Accession” under the provision of “India Independence Act 1947” and agreed to accede to India.
By Accession Treaty, the State Assembly was not allowed to amend the Constitution of J&K.
The Real Picture:
Let’s keep aside the accession and amendment for a while, it was nowhere stated/mentioned that J&K has no constitution of it’s own at the time of accession.
The Instrument of Accession was a Negotiable and Limited accession between the two countries – Independent J&K and The Union of India as the people of J&K retained all the powers with themselves except three (Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communication).
If Kashmir really acceded to India, then why the heck some Articles of J&K Constitution are in use and why RPC is still in use. It’s another thing that unfortunately the “Accession Treaty” and “Constitution of J&K” is not respected by the people of India.
The presence of Constitution of J&K clearly shows J&K never acceded to India in the manner it should but only for some selfish interests of India and Maharaja, best known to them, the drama of accession was enacted. However, it also states that “J&K is NOT an integral part of India”.
The Constitution of J&K was framed by India itself to protect the rights of people of J&K. By abrogating Article 35-A and Article 370 after 60 years, India wants to change its own constitution also, apart from abrogating Constitution of J&K, as is written in its preamble that “Constitution of India is applicable to every state and Union Territory of India except Jammu & Kashmir.” They want to ‘edit’ the very first line of Constitution of India!
The need of the hour is to protect Article 35-A which is actually the soul of Article 370. If the Articles are abrogated, we will no longer call Kashmir a ‘Disputed Territory’ in actuality.
No one will talk of Kashmir thereafter and no organisation like OIC or UN will ever dare to ask India to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir. Technically, the abrogation only will make J&K “an integral part of India.”
If you can’t call anybody an ‘MLA’ or ‘MP’ if he losses in elections, then how come Kashmir be called an integral part of India without an election i.e., plebiscite.
If there are two candidates ‘A’ and ‘B’ contesting an election and before the election is held, neither you can call ‘A’ as your representative nor ‘B’. Likewise, no plebiscite has been held in J&K, so it doesn’t make any sense to call it as an “integral part of India” or even Pakistan for that matter.
So, it’s not only the responsibility of lawyers, political parties, Hurriyat and Jama’at to protect Article 35-A and Article 370 but every citizen of Jammu & Kashmir has to stand up to protect their Special Status, their rights. It’s time to unite, not to play a game between ‘rulers’ and ‘opposition’.
Considering “Loha Garam Hai, Maar Do Hathoda” (Strike the iron when it’s hot / Act on an opportunity promptly), either they (India) will strike the iron to give it another shape or we (the people of Jammu & Kashmir) have to dip the iron into cold water before they strike it.
By considering the same proverb, I can see there is a battle going on between India and Jammu & Kashmir. Let’s see if its shape is changed or will be put into the cold waters.