Article-370, which confers special status on Jammu and Kashmir, has been the thorn in the flesh of BJP. For a long time; its abrogation had been in their election manifesto and they have been vocal against it. Now years after assuming office and succeeding in making country Congress free, with BJP affiliated officers in every office they have started using other routes to pave the way for abrogation of Article 370 by first tampering with Article 35A.
There have been many attempts for its abrogation like; in 1956, 1961, and 1970 but petitions challenging the Article 370 were dismissed by the court. The current debate started after an RSS proxy NGO challenged it in the Supreme Court on December 2015 on grounds that Article 370 was added to the constitution through amendment under Article 368 (which empowers parliament to amend the constitution) I.e., through the presidential order and was never presented before parliament. The PIL has been entertained by the Court and is likely to hear on this matter on 27 August after deferring it by few weeks.
If Article370 is a violation of the Article 368 and thus unconstitutional, how several other laws that were extended to the state through presidential orders are constitutional?. Those laws also need to be revoked. The scrapping of the Article 370 thus makes all other presidential orders from 1950 onwards, invalid and nullifies all the 41 subsequent presidential orders. In this backdrop, recently implemented laws NFSA 2015 (National food security act), GST, and Collection of Statistics Bill, 2017 also stands illegitimate and need revocation. Moreover, prior to insertion of Article 35A, the Governor and the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir were addressed as the Sadr-e-Riyasat (President) and Wazir-e-Azam (Prime Minister). Its repeal must then also return such nomenclatures.
Secondly, some argue that Article 370 is gender discriminatory because if a woman marries to non-permanent resident she loses her state subject; there is no such issue because in a landmark judgment Jammu & Kashmir High Court in 2002 held that women married to non-permanent residents will not lose their rights. Some claim it deprives the particular community of rights, which is also false.
Frankly speaking, all such objections to this Article are without substance. The justification behind the abrogation is flawed. It is, in fact, a well-planned conspiracy to not only dilute the disputed nature of Kashmir but also engineer a demographic change as Indians with big bucks and supported by the state will buy prime properties thus reducing Kashmiris to a minority in their own God gifted land.
So far people, across Jammu and Kashmir, have presented unprecedented show of unity over this matter, and are determined to oppose nefarious designs tooth and nail and this is heartening, but strict vigil needs to be maintained on the situation and importantly, chaos makers must be identified. It must not be treated like GST because without any doubt this is the most sensitive issue that needs to be dealt with, by every possible means. Otherwise, if it goes, it will have serious repercussion for the state and our identity.
Zeeshan Rasool Khan
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