Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014 at the Centre, there have been calls by party ideologues to scrap Article 35A of the constitution of India.
In 1949, Article 370 was included in the constitution after deliberations between Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, an essential figure in Kashmir politics, and Nehru.
This not only defines Kashmir’s political relationship with New Delhi by granting special status to the state, but acts as a bridge between state and rest of the India.
Article 35A confers upon the government of Jammu and Kashmir the power to define permanent residents and give them special rights and privileges with regard to employment, acquiring immovable property, scholarships and other forms of aid in the state.
In 1954, through a presidential order passed the then President Rajendra Prasad Article 35A was issued under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution. The article accords special rights and privileges of the ‘permanent residents’ of the Kashmir in government jobs, land acquisition and other public welfare projects.
It’s a settled constitutional position that the state of J&K enjoys a special identity within the constitutional framework of India due to a unique blend of historical and political reasons. This is well reflected in Article 370 of the constitution, drawing its roots from the Instrument of Accession the then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir signed with Union of India on October 26, 1947.
The recent developments in the state by the centre to send around 38,0000 troops to the valley triggered many apprehensions from political leaders to a common man. Many people were seen discussing in the lanes of Srinagar that they (government) is seems to have planned to remove the Article 35 A of the constitution and to deal with the reactions, they are doing so.
Political leaders and analysts believe that the fate of Article 35A will not change the Valley’s sentiments towards New Delhi but the move for the status that renders some negotiating power to the state will open a doors to the rifts and can become a ground for the people to outpour the anger for years.
The status that has been given by the then prime minster of India, Jawarlal Nehru to the people of valley while accession is not something that he provided a special favour but, it was a knot or a bridge between the state and the centre. It was a promise that the identity of the people of the state will be maintained in the country’s constitution with the same integrity as it was before shaking hands with India following independence in 1947.
Now, since past some years, as Bhartiya Janta Party had repeatedly placed this issue in their manifesto during election campaign and have shown efforts to make their promises true, pro-freedom and political leaders along with the people of state has passed the message of its consequences in the state.
The repeated atrocities by the hands of government forces and Center’s meddling with the regional issue has alienated the Kashmiris from India. Now, this time if the assumptions of the people for Article 35 A in the current turmoil turns true, the repetitive mention of term Kashmiriyat in their speeches will vanish.