Section 370- A Gift by a PM to an Ambitious Ruler

Was the inclusion of article 370 in the constitution of India backed by extreme gravity, or was it a way to accomplish the dreams of a striving ruler? It is said that Sheikh Abdullah, who shared close vibes with Mahatma Gandhi, approached the then PM Pandit Nehru with a view to outshining Maharaja Hari Singh for gaining absolute control and accomplishing the insertion of article 370, which however was opposed by the key driving force behind the constitution, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Though deterred by many socialists and prudent personalities, the section helped the state own a distinct status and the residents therein now live under separate set of laws, which includes ownership of property, citizenship and fundamental rights. Above all is a separate constitution. The defense, foreign affairs, finance, and communication domains, however, are under the administration of the union government.

What could have been the motive of our representatives to afford a state, which is a part of Indian soil, with such extraordinary rights? The Congress, which was challenged by the then Hindu backed associations, could have thought of winning the heart of minorities by extending privileges that comprehensively stand biased till date. Ever since, this article and the conflicts of Kashmir have been much-talked about, however, the political leaders have probably overlooked the solemnity of this subject. Leaders, quite often, disremember that the environment, which they desire to create, witnesses general public as key constituent. At large, the beneficiaries or the sufferers of the acts of our so-called secular leaders are the ones who often are unaware of cause of conflict.

Now let us consider a fact that has almost remained concealed from the general public since decades. In the month of May in 1954, the Pandit Nehru-led union government amended the article 35 of the Indian constitution and added 35A, which extended to the state government of J & K the right to deny citizenship rights, and apply any restrictions with respect to employment under the state government, acquisition of immovable property and right to scholarship or other aids, no matter how unjust these measures are. The untenable article has helped the J & K government to enforce any and every limitation on the rights of Hindu migrants from West Pakistan who have been denied the citizenship. Was this never a concern for the Nehru-led government or the descendants of the so-called secular Congress that talks of prosperity of all?

Vital to note, section 6 of the J & K constitution allows the state government to recognize Muslims, who migrated from the state to Pakistan, however re-migrated to the state thereafter, as citizens. Thus, the article 370, along with the article 35A is what has given the state government the power to do any favors or even injustice. Is country within a country an admissible equation? The temporary nature of article 370 can be comprehended by the fact that the President has the power to abrogate this post consulting the constituent assembly, which was disbanded in 1957. More the time lapses more will be the damage caused. The gift of Nehru to the ambitious ruler, Abdullah no longer finds space in the era of social and political justice.

The BJP that has almost outshined every other political group and is on the verge of forming the government at the center has advocated the annulment of article 370 ever since its inception. Though the measure would not be that easy to implement, let us know the backdrop of the viewpoint of BJP. Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, the person who devoted his life for securing equitable rights for all communities in the state of J & K, has left behind a goal for the descendants of the BJP. Plus, when we talk of the welfare and betterment of national minorities, why aren’t we concerned about the minority community of J & K? Is minority at the national level the only community that seeks special kindness? You must agree with the fact that prosperity of any state cannot be thought of without bringing in economic viability.

It is a known fact of economics that large number of participants and contributories enhance the viability of any project. ‘Economies of scale’ is what every business enterprise wants to attain so as to reduce the costs and uplift the profitability. As a distinct state with abundant restrictions in place and with non-applicability of many vital Acts, the state of J & K can rarely achieve the goal of economies of scale. And, if the state could have, the rulers not would have been dependent on the Indian government for seeking assistance in terms of infrastructure, security, and food supply. Vital to note that the constitution of J & K states that the state is an integral part of India- A clause that discloses the intention of the constitution makers who knew that the state could not stand even for a day without the aid of the union government of India.

The ‘Ultras’ (extremists) of J & K many a times advocate comprehensive independence to the state, while a few among them even favor Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Whom are they fighting for? The general public, anywhere in the world, would favor development and enhanced prospects to earn. Let us remember that in case the Indian armed forces are being blamed for the harassment of Kashmiri Muslims, the insurgents backed by the ISI are equitably responsible for the forced eviction of Kashmiri Pandits. ‘Kashmiriyat’, which fundamentally meant upholding the integrity of all Kashmiris, has been illicitly used to eradicate the minorities of Kashmir and establishing a Taliban-influenced milieu. Not much can be expected out of Pakistan, which has unlawfully occupied the portion of Indian soil.

Now, what can the solution be? Would the abrogation of article 370 and article 35A serve any purpose, or would it be better to let the state live on its own? In case the state would have the capability to prosper on its own, the residents would not have migrated to other states for want of education and earning prospects. Hence, a consensus must be achieved by our political groups, which represent the general public, with a view to putting an end to a scheme that is intolerable. The residents too in turn are supposed to liaise with the system that appears to be the best in view of uncountable bottlenecks. The political leaders, rather than engaging themselves in arguments, must strive to achieve the goal of real prosperity of the state as well of those who have been forced to vacate their homeland. The state, which has been the center of conflicts and mass killings since decades, now urges for prompt and real reforms.

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