Aug 5th, the day when entire India resonates for two main reasons, One being abrogation of article 370 of Indian Constitution for Kashmir and the other is reviving the lost identity of Hindu Temple in Ayodhya after winning the court proceedings last year. Although Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrumentation of accede into India in 1947, the integration of Kashmir didn’t happen until Aug 5th 2019. During this day last year, the India’s Home Minister Informed the upper house of Parliament that the President of India issued a Constitution Order 272 and 273 to abrogate Sadr -I Riyasat (Constituent Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir) with the powers vested as Governor of J&K. Later a resolution was ratified for CO 273 in both houses of Parliament which also led to bifurcate Jammu Kashmir (J&K) state into two Union Territories Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh as per J&K State reorganization act 2019. Here are the five key reasons why abrogation of article 370 is much needed legislation for India.
Jammu & Kashmir Amalgamation with Rest of India
With Article 370: Prior Aug 2019, J&K Citizens had Dual Citizenship ( J&K citizen & Indian Citizen). had a separate Flag and separate constitution with a constituent Assembly valid for 6 years while the rest of Indian states has 5 year validity. Interestingly, J&K residents can insult Indian Constitution, Preamble, National flag and even burn it. The Indian parliament could make laws for J&K with extremely limited areas of jurisdiction. Even, the Indian Penal Code was not applied in J&K as it had its own Penal code called Ranbir Penal Code. This type of special provisions for J&K directly violates the Preamble of Constitution and territorial integrity of India.
Without Article 370: The above discussions were automatically ceased. Thus, Every law that Parliament makes, is automatically implied to J&K. Every Supreme Court Judgement can be implied to J&K and will be just like any other State/Union Territory in India which can enjoy the full constitutional rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. Also, Rest of Indian people can mingle with J&K freely with no conditions and in specific Kashmiri Hindu Pandits who left Kashmir, after Genocide of over 300,000 Hindus can go back to home.
Article 35-A Offensive and Crude
J&K’s Special Status that came with Article 370 of Indian Constitution also attached with Article 35-A that gives special authority for J&K to define Permanent Citizens and provide special rights and privileges. Using Section 6 of J&K constitution, it invokes the article 35-a and categorizes the permanent citizens. Using this article 35-a J&K discriminated against Non Permanent residents as second grade citizens. Thus, they cannot buy any immovable property, not eligible for employment by the state government, cannot contest or vote in local body or Assembly elections, cannot avail of scholarships and other grants offered by the state government to its permanent residents and, above all, cannot seek redress in any Local or High court or Supreme Court of India.This is a direct violation of Article 14 of Indian constitution that guarantees the Equality of Citizens. Apart from this, It impede the corporate sector to invest , buy immovable property or set up an industry in J&K. Thus, the State of J&K was heavily dependent on India’s Federal Government for Funds and Grants. Despite the fact that J&K has 1% population of the entire India, Indian budget allocated over 10% of the budget funds to just J&K until 2019.
Violation of Gender Equality
Again, Article 35-A which was not ratified by Parliament and temporarily attached to Article 370 in 1954 violates the very basic rights of Gender Equality of Indian Constitution. Section 6 of J&K Constitution that derives its power from Article 35-A of Indian Constitution discriminates against women residents of the J&K state who marry a person from another state in India. The children from such parents are not entitled to the Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) of J&K, consequently the benefits thereupon, such as the right to acquire immovable property and a government job also ceases. However, the same does not apply to the offspring of a male who marries a woman from another state. This is again a violation of Article 14 of Indian Constitution. Not Limited to this, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders are legally punishable as per Ranbir Penal Code and a criminal offense to be a Homo sexual. Although the Supreme Court of India Decriminalized section 377 of Indian Penal Code, it was not applied to J&K until after the abrogation of article 370 last year. Thus, the abrogation of article 370 also abrogates the article 35-A and Gender Equality is much preserved as per the Article 14 of Indian Constitution.
Abrogation of Article 370 ENDS Human Rights Abuse on Valmiki and Gurkha Community
Soon after India’s Independence in 1947, many Valmiki and Gurkha communities moved to Jammu and Kashmir from Punjab on persuasion by Sheik Abdullah to work as scavenging workers. Interestingly, these communities apart from Dalit Hindus were never given Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) by J&K state. Even after generations passed, these people were treated as second grade citizens. They were denied every benefit of the State, right to education, right to buy property, right to vote, right to employment in the same state they were born. They were not even allowed to even avail Bank loans. They worked as Scavengers cleaning Toilets, roads until 2019. Only Hindu Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs who were forcibly kicked out of Kashmir got benefited under Indian Laws and constitution after settling down in Punjab and Delhi. Interestingly, and on contrary, J&K constituent Assembly in 1981 with full majority passed a law, the J&K Resettlement Act, that led to open doors for those Kashmiris and their descendants who had migrated to Pakistan, or Persons of J&K (PoJ&K) during partition in 1947, to return to J&K as its legitimate citizens and take charge of their ancestral properties but the same POJ&K who were forced to cross Kashmir and settle in Jammu cannot get the Permanent Citizens. Thus, this Article 35-a is much draconian and violates the article 14 of Indian Constitution values of Gender Equality and human rights.
Socioeconomic Development & Stops Sharia Law on Women
Abrogation of Article 370 is rather a bold step that Prime Minister Modi implemented last year. After the Abrogation, J&K has become a Union Territory (UT) government by the Federal Government. While Jammu is Hindu Majority and Kashmir Valley is Muslim Majority apart from the Buddhist Majorty Ladakh another UT. Thus, Every law that was framed in Indian parliament automatically applies to J&K and Ladakh. Specifically, Right to Information Act, Right to Employment, Every Federal Government initiates regarding the expenses can come under Comptroller and Auditor General and monitor the expenses. Many Federal Government policies were automatically implied to J&K residents and to be specific about 1.5 Million J&K residents were insured under Federal Government’s Health Insurance Scheme ( AyushMan Bharat) and about 78,00 people got treated using this Health insurance scheme so far since Aug 2019. Apart from this, the Federal Government has set up two prestigious AIIMS medical colleges in Jammu and other in Kashmir while the construction is in full swing. Not limited to this, about 7 regional medical colleges were allotted in J&K and Ladakh and as well modernizing the medical facilities in Government hospitals in J & K. As per the Prime Minister’s directive premier colleges like IIT and IIMs are set up in Jammu and Kashmir and the construction is underway.
Indian Government asked major Indian industrialists to set up industries in J&K and help the local residents provide employment. The Federal Government prior to COVID had planned for a Global investor summit 2020 in J&K to attract investors and propel the business opportunities to local youth and help them to empower themselves with skills. Apart from this, the Federal Government has a much higher vision in making J&K as a Tourist hub which is pivotal for its wealth generation.
Finally, This abrogation of article 370 checkmates the Sharia Law which is being implemented in J&K and enforced on women and Homosexuals. The dignity and respect of women were upheld. Now, Women and Homosexuals have equal rights as Men and the Human rights are guaranteed as per Article 14 of Indian Constitution
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