Skip to main content

Tinkering with Article 35A intolerable, will "undermine" Kashmir's identity, character

By Syed Mujtaba Hussain*
The Supreme Court of India is currently hearing petitions under Articles 370 and 35A filed by an NGO over the special status of the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The Kashmiris have rejected the move terming it ill-intentioned and BJP quest for change of demography.
To recall, according to Lord Mountbatten’s plan for partition of subcontinent (June 3, 1947), around 500 princely states acceded to India. But on October 27, 1947 the Indian army landed in the Himalayan valley of Kashmir, leading to what many consider as leading to one of the world's deadliest disputes.
The Indian forces entered Kashmir after Maharaja Hari Singh, faced with an internal revolt as well external invasion, requesting assistance from India's armed forces. Pakistan's Pashtun tribal militias had crossed the border of the state, and the Maharaja had already lost control of the western districts of his kingdom.
The Maharaja agreed to hand over control of his defence, communications, and foreign affairs departments to the Indian government. Though both sides agreed the accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh would be ratified by a referendum, which was to be held after hostilities ceased, that vote was never held even after 70 years, making Kashmir an unsolved legacy of partition.

Articles 370 and 35A of Indian Constitution

Indian political leadership, instead of attending to United Nations resolutions over Kashmir, tried to pacify Kashmiris through different legal deceptions. In 1949, Jawaharlal Nehru struck a deal with Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, an influential political figure in Kashmir, and inserted Article 370 in the Indian constitution.
The article defines Kashmir’s political relationship with New Delhi by granting special status to J&K. It restricts New Delhi’s legislative jurisdiction only to defence, foreign affairs, and communications.
In 1954, through a presidential order, Article 35A was passed under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Indian constitution. The Article accords special rights and privileges of the permanent residents of Kashmir in government jobs, land acquisition and other public projects.
On September 14, 2018, Indian Supreme Court adjourned the hearing on petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A of the constitution to January next year in view of the ongoing law-and-order situation in the Kashmir Valley.
The Supreme Court’s hearing on the annulment of Article 35A has once again created fear in the valley. Former J&K Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and National Conference, two regional mainstream parties, did not contested the planned polls in Kashmir.
Separatist leaders, trade unions, religious organisations etc threatened that any attempt to change the demography of the state by “tinkering” with Article 35A will be “intolerable” and warned that Kashmiris would “spill their blood” to safeguard the identity and character of the state and “no court, whether in India or in Pakistan, has any jurisdiction to take decisions that can in any way affect the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir”.
Article 370 and Article 35A have been a contentious issue ever since the state of J&K was annexed to the Republic of India. India has avoided resolution of Kashmir through UN resolutions and have been scheming many political and legal strategies to portray settlement of the issue. Judicial activism is one of the key features of South Asia since 1980.
The judiciaries in Pakistan and India, on numerous occasions, have turned down overturned controversial policies of their respective governments in the greater public interests and attempted to deliver justice to the weaker sections of society.
Syed Mujtaba Hussain
Tinkering with the Article 35A, 370 is used as a political strategy by the Centre to change the demography of the state. Be it the rigging of 1987 elections or atrocities inflicted by Public Safety Act (PSA) and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), New Delhi’s policies towards Kashmir haven’t changed much, Centre has never really given Kashmir the promised ‘right’. What Congress did behind the curtain BJP is doing it openly.
It is time for the Supreme Court of India to decide the issue on merit. The Apex court may decide not to attend to the petitions that go against UN resolutions, rather bound its government to sincerely settle the fate of Kashmiris being humiliated on a daily basis. Let the petition in the Supreme Court be the beacon of hope and peace in the region.
---
*Human rights activist, observer of socio-political contexts. Contact: jaan.aalam@gmail.com

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

How are Tripura Muslims responsible for attacks in Bangladesh?: 'Concerned' citizens

Counterview Desk  Calling it a “retaliation” of Bangladesh violence, several “concerned citizens”*, including Magsaysay award winning social activist and academic Sandeep Pandey and PV Rajagopal of the Sarvodaya Samaj, have said that the recent attacks on Muslim community in different areas of Tripura is a the reflection of “growing trend of using violence against another community.”

Shabana Azmi joins Pak physicist Hoodbhoy to condemn B'desh anti-minority violence

By Our Representative  Several well-known South Asian activists and public figures of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives have expressed “deep distress” by the spate of violence and killings in Bangladesh on the occasion of Durga Puja and Vijayadashami. “Attacks on minorities are a sign of injustice and a matter of shame for any society and bring a bad name to the Government”, they said in a joint statement.