After the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with Union of India, of course with certain riders, the Maharaja, prodded by Pandits and Dogras, had felt a need to have such state subject laws which would not allow residents of places other than Jammu and Kashmir to get permanent resident-ship in the state.

The Maharaja had done it purely on the basis of the fact that people residing outside J&K have enough means to purchase land in J&K and settle down permanently here, scuttling the chances of locals to grow equally with them.

This formed the part of Article 370 of the Constitution of India in the form of Article 35-A which has been challenged in the Supreme Court of India through a PIL. The apex court is likely to go for hearing of the PIL after Diwali is over. Four major changes which have tremendous bearing on the overall socio-economic development are going to be hit if this article is removed.

The striking down of Article 35-A from the constitution will consequently endanger the concept of State Subject in Jammu and Kashmir. The state will no longer have the power to define state citizenship in J&K. Like one odd states in the country, the residents of Jammu and Kashmir have permanent resident certificate by virtue of which they can own land and property in the state and no outsider “can inherit land or property by virtue of this law”. If the law goes, anybody from India can possess land in J&K and reside in the state. By virtue of Article 35-A, every government job is meant for the permanent residents of J&K state only. If the litigation is upheld, anybody from any corner of the country can apply and can get a job in the government service. Also, the scholarship schemes of the government, which are applicable to the permanent residents of the state only, will open floodgates allowing people from across the country to claim such scholarships.
The moot question remains: Why is this being done after so many years of accession with the country and why has not the government of India so far come publicly in the defence of the article? Such laws do exist in other states of India like Sikkim, etc. and if such laws could not be a problem for the litigants there, why has it suddenly started to give cramps to the shady forces of Hindutva in the context of Jammu and Kashmir.

Almost all political parties in the Valley have shown apprehensions that under the garb of removing this article from the constitution, there is a diabolical plan of turning the Muslim majority in the J&K state into minority character. On the other hand, a large number of people of Jammu have shown reservation against this litigation also.

It’s high time that the state government, the civil society and also the government of India come together to apprise the Supreme Court of the damaging effect of this amendment, specially the simmering discontent in all the regions of J&K against this PIL. The government, especially, has to tread the path cautiously so as to avoid any situation like Amarnath land row agitation. It is time for people of J&K to get their act together, regardless of political affiliations, lest our identity of robbed.


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