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Removal Of Article 35A-Part Of An Agenda

By Abdul Majid Zargar

19 August, 2015

A writ petition challenging Article 35A of Indian constitution has been filed before Supreme Court of India by a RSS backed think tank. It may be recalled that this article was inserted in the Indian constitution through a presidential order promulgated under clause (1) of article 370 effective from 14th day of May 1954 to afford a protective shield to various rights bestowed by our own constitution on permanent residents of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) state in matters of acquisition of immovable property, employment in State services, voting rights etc. etc. Once this shield is removed, these rights will become susceptible to many legal & political assaults which will ultimately pave way for entry of non State subjects into the state putting in motion a second demographic change, the first having been engineered by Sangh Parivar in Jammu region in 1947.

Irrespective of the judicial fate of the writ petition, it is necessary to ponder over the question as to why did Sangh parivar wait for sixty one long years to take such a step loaded with mala-fide intentions ? After all its think tanks & affiliated organizations could have done this job without being in power or alternatively it could have done so earlier when in power at centre, albeit in coalition with other political parties, collectively referred to as National Democratic Alliance . The question needs to be put to a wider debate because it affects every section of people of the State across board.

But before an informed debate is initiated, it is in order to put a word of clarification with respect to certain recent attempts by writers & columnists of comparing Article 370 with Articles 371 to 371E(special provision in respect of Mahrashtra Gujrat & North eastern States).It needs to be reiterated that there is a vast difference between Article 370 & other articles like Article 371 to 371E in respect of both form and substance. While the articles 371 to 371E are titled “Special”, Article 370 is titled “Temporary”. The distinction needs to be noted as word “temporary” was only reserved for Article 370 dealing with J&K, the intent & purpose being to make this article co-terminus with final settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Another noteworthy distinction in respect of J&K is that this state has only acceded to India Union (The genuinity of accession itself is a separate debate) and not merged with it like all other states. That much has also been acknowledged & accepted even by former Union Home Minster Mr. Chidambram when the Sangh Parivar raised a hue & cry on this issue during UPA rule in not so distant a past.

Having made the distinction, it is important to take stock of important events happening in State after the present coalition of PDP & BJP took over reins of the Govt.

a) Even before the ruling coalition was firmly saddled in power, a Minster from Jammu in PMO’s office declared that Article 370 is on its way out. Incidentally this is also what Modi wants to say but does not say for strategic reasons.

b) A move to issue Permanent resident certificates (PRCs) in schools in Jammu was initiated in utter contravention of prescribed rules & procedures. It is reported that these PRCs will now be issued on-line in Jammu region. The explanation offered is that that the Govt. wants to remove cumbersome procedure in obtaining this certificate .The question arises- is there nothing else left in J&K which needs simplified procedures and why these moves are initiated in Jammu region only?

c) Voices were raised vociferously to Settle West Pakistan refugees in Jammu.

d) Muslims in Jammu were harassed & evicted from their natural habitat under the pretext of clearance of forest areas.

e) voices were raised to settle retired Army personnel by allotting them land, Industrial plots & other benefits. In fact 173 Kannals of land have already been identified in Srinagar for the purpose with more in the pipeline. Though a clarification to contrary has been issued by the Govt, but it raises more questions than it answers.

f) Central statistics Act 2008 is proposed to be amended to include within its ambit the State of J&K in-spite of the fact that this State has its own law on the subject known as J&K State Statistics Act 2010.The proposed amendment will empower New-Delhi to collect & process personal information & data of People of J&K(generally known as profiling of civilians) without any permission of the State Govt. and making our own law redundant to that extent.

g) And now a writ petition to challenge constitutional validity of Article 35A followed by announcement by Dy. CM, Nirmal Singh that Sangh Parivar has not changed its stand on Article 370.

Put the above sequence of events in a perspective and a definite pattern emerges which makes it abundantly clear that Sangh Parivar has scripted a well crafted agenda to change the demographic character of the state second time by hook or by crook .The question as to why did it take so long to implement its agenda is explained by the fact of its having not-so-brute-majority in Indian parliament and absence of a willing partner at State level which it has found now in the form of PDP headed by Mufti Syed . New collaborators have been created in the state by the Sangh Parivar to lend a helping hand in furthering this agenda.

My fear, shared by many others, is that we are witnessing an era where even the higher Judiciary is influenced by ultra-nationalist propaganda & rhetoric. It is high time that people who have elected MLA’s from PDP seek answers from them for playing this nefarious game and sooner it is done ,the better it is.

(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E mail: abdulmajidzargar@gmail.com)



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