Kashmir: Abolition of Article 370: Implications by Ram Puniyani

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Currently there are celebrations in sections of Indian society and there is a pall of gloom in Kashmir. On Tuesday 5th August (2019), by a Presidential order Article 370 has been revoked along with article 35 A. Interestingly the citizens of Kashmir, the traders  of Kashmir scattered in different parts of the country are under immense tension about the well being of their families back home. The celebrations are running parallel among people who think Article 370 and the35A are the one’s which have prevented the progress and peace in Kashmir. The step of revocation of these articles was taken in great secrecy. On the pretext that a terrorist attack is in the offing, large number of army was send to further boost the already present lakhs of the soldiers in the valley.

With heavy military deployment on one side, the communication in the state has been totally clamped down and people do not know what is in store for them. An undercurrent of panic prevails all over in the state.

The legal pundits are raising a question as to whether this article can be abolished, the way it has been done. The Constituent Assembly which formulated this special provision had the likes of Sheikh Abdullah, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel among others. One of the provisions of the instruments of accession of Kashmir to India states, “‘nothing in this instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future Constitution of India or to fetter my discretion to enter into arrangements with the Government of India under any such future Constitution”. (1) The people of Kashmir as represented in Kashmir’s the then Constituent Assembly had to be taken in confidence for any major change in the terms of the Article, there by terms of relationship/accession with India. So it seems that in a hurry to actualize the RSS-BJP Hindutva agenda the present regime is recklessly pushing itself in a direction which may not be legally tenable. The legal position and the stand of Supreme Court in the matter will be extremely crucial in deciding the final fate of these articles and the status of Kashmir.

What has been done by Modi regime has no parallel in a Indian history. By the Presidential order the article 370 and article 35A have been revoked, the J&K as a state has been bifurcated into two union territories, the one of J&K and other of Laddak. First time in the history of the Nation a state has been downgraded to a Union territory. The whole idea was that Kashmir will overcome the earlier hurdles at the time of accession and will have better democratic atmosphere. What has been imposed by a dictate is that the state itself has not only been divided, it has been demoted into two union territories where the Central Government will rule the roost through Lt. Governors, with the democratic processes undermined in a serious way. All the major leaders of the state have been imprisoned or are out of contact with the people of the state. What are visible all around are the empty streets and the heavy presence of military forces all around.

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Kashmir Abolition of Article 370 Implications by Ram Puniyani

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