You wont find Article 35A in Indian constitution. It is found in J&K constitution. Though no other Indian state has its own constitution, J&K had one, thanks to Article 370 which permitted J&K to do so.

What is Article 35A? What are its powers?

Article 35A empowered the J&K government to define who could stay, work, vote and purchase properties in J&K.

Therefore using the powers of 35A, J&K Government literally shut off J&K from outside people from settling in the state, purchasing land in the state, setting up businesses and even voting in J&K.

In nutshell, J&K (just like Medieval Japan) because of 35A became cutoff from rest of the world.

The biggest victims of Article 35A were the Kashmiris themselves. How?

  1. In rest of India capital could flow freely. After 1991 reforms, the capital from rest of world got invested in India and all Indian states progressed. But due to restrictions imposed from 35A, capital could not flow in to J&K due to which there was massive unemployment (in comparison to other states), poverty and lack of technological growth.
  2. In 2000s there was a real-estate boom all over India. But since outsiders could not purchase land, the boom did not happen in Kashmir. Many landowners (in other states) who were earlier poor became rich by selling lands, got the initial money for starting their businesses and progressed. That did not happen in J&K. The land rates in J&K are in general very low in comparison to other states even the most backward ones.
  3. Since 35A prohibited outsiders from settling in the state, the state lost out on attracting talented manpower. J&K fell behind other states in attracting talent. The other states like say Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi who could attract talent progressed as those people helped build new businesses, contributed to their economy, gave taxes to the Govt. etc. J&K missed out on all these pretty badly.
  4. Due to restrictions of outsiders settling in the state, J&K could not get good professors, teachers, doctors, writers, nurses, engineers, chartered accountants etc. who form the backbone of any modern society.
  5. Due to lack of economic activity, J&K also could not muster tax revenue as was case with other states.
  6. To make matters worse, the Article 370 made it very easy in J&K for corruption to thrive (in comparison to rest of India). Read here.

In nutshell, Kashmiris themselves suffered much more than rest of Indians due to 35A.

It is in the interest of the dynastic corrupt politicians for Kashmiris remain poor so that they can stay in power for ever. The explains the Mufti’s and Abdullah’s support for 35A.

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