A lot of debates and discussions are held every day on the issue of Article 35-A. Not a single TV Channel or newspaper carry a programme not involving this Article. Along with, Article 370 was also invoked, though it has become dead horse. The fact of the matter is that Article 370 has lived beyond its limit and died of its own. It has been used and abused so much that there is nothing left in it, hence a new word has been coined up by these politicians. They knew that the common man has understood the Article 370 and cannot be befooled with it so (new demon Jin) Article 35-A was invented.
So what is Article 35-A? It is a mischief. It was introduced through the Constitutional Order of 1954 intentionally. It is not that the parliamentarians did not know. If we go into the merits and demerits of these articles like Article 370 or Article35-A, it has not benefitted common man except a selective elite who have vested interests. Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to J&K, while Article 35A disallows people from residing in J&K, buying or owning immovable property in the State, settle permanently, or get State Government jobs. A NGO, ‘We the Citizens’, filed a petition in the apex Court in 2014 to abolish the law on the grounds that it was “unconstitutional”. There are apprehensions, amongst sections of Kashmiris`, that if the law is repealed or diluted, outsiders would settle in J&K. The Article 35-A has united Kashmiri separatists and mainstream politicians. It is interesting to note here that rarely any Hindu from Jammu, who do not need removal of Article 35A for purchase of land in Valley, had any land or house in Valley. Even top notch people like politicians had no place in Valley where as almost all politicians (Muslims) from Valley have purchased land and house in Jammu. So the question of changing the demography of Valley does not arise, rather reverse has happened. Demographic changes have taken place in Jammu already.
There has been uproar in the political circles about the Article 35A being challenged in the Supreme Court. This is not for the first time that such instances have come, but in the present circumstances it is being used by the political parties for their vested interests. Those who are out of power are frustrated and need some or the other excuses for being in lime light and headlines of newspapers. It has given an opportunity to every tom, dick and harry to spell out their mind and more importantly it has also provided opportunity to Kashmir centric mainstream and separatists to speak venom against India and Hindus. To be precise, Kashmir centric rather Kashmir centric Sunni Muslim organisations including the NC, Congress and PDP are busy in disinformation campaign about the Article 35 A. This Article 35A is against the rights for women and is unconstitutional too. All mainstream and separatists have fallen in line to support article 35A. One thing good is there that all have forgotten freedom and pro-Pakistan.
Till now nobody or a few were in know of Article 35A but now this Article 35A has turned ghost and has replaced article 370. The Kashmir centric politics which is essentially a Muslim aligned like Huriyat has found a new tool to exploit the Muslims of Kashmir. Since the Article 370 has been used, abused and misused so much for the last seven decades that it has dried up an there is no juice left in it. Also the people have also understood the game plan of these so called mainstream and separatists who have used it for their personal gains. Take the example of Abdullah’s who have been in power for the last three generations simply because of Article 370. This game plan was hijacked by Muftis who also used it under different style of Self Rule. After NC and PDP the separatists have also realised that this Article 370 which is just separatist in nature has been used by these mainstream political parties and did not wait long before joining this stream. It reminded of a story in the past how Article 370 was made a religious and sanctum sanctorum issue by the NC leadership. While addressing the public rally they used to equate this Article 370 with the (Nada) thread used by Kashmiri Muslim women for tying trouser at waist. Leaders used to tell the people “Will you allow any body to touch the Nada of your mother or sisters, to make them feel touchier. There answer was always No”. This is how Article 370 was abused and used against the interests of India.
Now this Article 35 A has become a new tool and has proved a boon in the hands of these Kashmir centric leaders who have nothing for the common masses except stone pelting, death and destruction, while their own kith and kin are well settled in or outside the State.
J&K became part of India on 27th Oct. 1947 by signing Instrument of Accession by the Maharaja Hari Singh, who was the sole authority for accessing into either domain because of the Independence Act. She is lying to the people of State and to the whole nation. It is irony that those who are not the aborigines of Kashmir are becoming the sole custodians of the State and the real aborigines are living in exile as refugees in their own country.
Another aspect of it is that it is a legal issue and the Govt., does not figure in it. It is a legal issue and those who feel being offended or hurt should file objections in the SC and there is no need of creating hysteria which is being carried out by so called mainstream politicians including PDP. The irony of the fact remains that anything that is anti- India becomes saleable in Muslin Valley which has been radicalised to the extent that even if we call Kashmir as an Islamic state it will not be wrong. This anti -India attitude has been created by these mainstream and separatists because it keeps their shops running. If we want the integration of J&K with the rest of India, it is necessary for the Article 35A to go because it is this Article which gives a sense of alienation to the people of J&K from rest of India.
On one hand the Govt. as well as other Kashmir dominated parties want emotional integration of Kashmir with rest of India and simultaneously want this Article to remain, it is a paradox. Article 35A of the Constitution is separationist and communal in nature and spirit, the sooner it is done away, it is better.
(The writer is a Social Activist and Convenor, Panun Kashmir)
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