Seventy years on, digging a deeper hole in Kashmir

Seventy years on, digging a deeper hole in Kashmir

The clouds always seem negative with regard to Kashmir. But as India marks the 60th anniversary of independence, the clouds seem threatening.

A little-known nongovernmental organization, the Jammu and Kashmir Study Center (JKSC), considered a front RSS and the BJP contested the validity of Article 35-A of the Constitution, which allows the state Legislature to regulate the rights of Its permanent residents in matters such as property, liquidation and employment.

In trying to revive Article 35-A, Sangh Parivar is the special state of J & K and Article 370, which unites the Muslim majority of Kashmir to the Indian Union.

We must carefully consider the implications of this push to overturn the special status of J & K. Adverse consequences are likely to further devastate an already weakened region. Its long-term negative consequences are likely to outlast us all.

After Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession in October 1947, the government has retained control over three issues: foreign relations, defense and communications.

The Kashmiri Scandinavian leader of the times, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah (and his team) negotiated with the government as part of J & K’s future relationship with the Union.

Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel and Gopalaswamy Ayyangar were intimately involved in this process. In October 1949, the Constituent Assembly approved article 370.

Parliament’s legislative powers in relation to J & K have been restricted for the three areas of defense, foreign relations and communications mentioned above.

But over time, a series of presidential decrees have eroded J & K’s autonomy significantly. The first presidential order in 1950 divides the powers between J and K and the central government.

In 1952, the Delhi Agreement ensures that other provisions of the Constitution were extended to J & K. The 1954 presidential order formalized the extension of these additional provisions in J & K and expanded Article 35-A for the state.

The Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir has confirmed the Presidential Order of 1954 and these provisions have become a part of the 1956 J & K Constitution

In the Supreme Court, the JKSC argued that the 1954 presidential order is invalid because constitutional amendments must follow a separate procedure and is defined in section 368.

Some claim that the cancellation of the 1954 Presidential Order cancel all J & K related presidential orders since 1950. This would probably open a debate on J & K’s accession to India.

On the other hand, some make the moral argument that if J & K people can buy goods or employment in the rest of the country, why foreigners in case they do not have the same rights in J & K?

Some argue that women in J & K are discriminated against if they marry a non-state subject because their children lose permanent resident status in J & K. This does not apply to men who marry women not subject to condition.

I do not intend to address legal issues here. I’m going to leave it to the Constitutionalists. I acknowledge the weight of the moral arguments advanced by those who oppose J & K’s special condition.

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