05 August 2019
Bhubaneswar: As the whole nation celebrates the abrogation of Article 370 which makes Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India, the political leaders in the valley are crying foul over the act.
To know the reason behind their outcry, we have to delve into history.
When India achieved independence, there were around 500 ‘princely states’ which conceded to India due to successful efforts by Vallabhbhai Patel. But Jammu and Kashmir proved very tough. The then and last Maharaja of the State Hari Singh wanted to have J&K as an independent State. So it did not join either India or Pakistan.
But when the state was attacked allegedly by Pakistan in October 1947, Hari Singh requested the Indian government for military assistance. And what he got in exchange was the state’s accession to India.
The Instrument of Accession did not result in the merge of the State in India. It made a temporary settlement where the country would handle the defense, foreign affairs, and communication and Kashmir could have its own constitution, flag, and Prime Minister. Jammu and Kashmir, unlike the other princely states, was not willing to accept the Constitution of India and was adamant on acting only on the basis of the terms of the Instrument.
In 1949, then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru had directed Kashmiri leader Shaikh Abdullah to consult Dr. B.R Ambedkar to prepare draft suitable for Kashmir.
Dr. B.R Ambedkar, who was the first law minister of India and was the chairman of the Constitution drafting committee but he refused to draft Article 370 because he was strictly opposed the Article 370 of Indian Constitution.
Ambedkar thought that by inserting that Article and making limited application of laws made by Parliament for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, it would create lots of problem rather than solving.
So, Gopalaswami Ayyangar, a minister without a portfolio in Nehru’s government, moved the Bill for Article 370 in India’s Constituent Assembly. Article 370 of the Indian constitution gives Jammu and Kashmir the status of a special state, where the state can form its own constitution and make laws through their own constituent assembly (along with some exceptions).
Article 35A which was introduced after the adoption of Article 370 in the constitution, specifically deals with the rights and privileges of the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir. It allows the assembly to define “permanent residents” of the state, and the assembly can also alter the definition of a permanent resident by two-thirds majority. According to Article 35A, the non-permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir cannot own property in the state, they don’t have right to vote in state legislative elections and can’t apply for government jobs.