“Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, —
(a) the provisions of article 238 shall not apply in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir;
(b) the power of Parliament to make laws for the said State shall be limited to—
(i) those matters in the Union List and the Concurrent List which, in consultation with the Government of the State, are declared by the President to correspond to matters specified in the Instrument of Accession governing the accession of the State to the Dominion of India………….”
This is what the official statement of article 370 of the Constitution of India looked like. Autonomy to the former princely states of Jammu and Kashmir was given in the Indian constitution soon after the partition of British India until a decision was made about its rule. It limited the ability of India’s central government to exercise power over the state. A provision associated with this article gave state legislators the right to decide who could buy land and be a permanent resident — a provision that infuriated many non-Kashmiris.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir was authorized to have its constitution and flag; its demographic integrity was ensured by prohibiting the purchase of property in the state by non-Kashmiris.
Although the article was meant to be temporary, it says that it can only be revoked with the agreement of the legislative body responsible for drafting the state constitution. Article 370 was given the permanent status on 3rd April 2018 by the Supreme Court of India, since the State Constituent Assembly dissolved itself in 1957 and the necessary provisions could not be fulfilled by the President of India.
However, the nationalist and extremist leadership with Hindutva Ideology abrogated the article in August 2019, not only going against the United Nations’ resolutions but also violating the bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan. They even disregarded the commitments that India had made in the Instrument of Accession ripping off Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
This manifestation of pure religious discrimination and hatred was highly condemned. Not only in Jammu and Kashmir but in India itself. It has led to unrest in the state, depriving Kashmiris of their basic human rights. India has moved another 50000 military and paramilitary troops in the State to “suppress” the voice of Kashmiris.
This has now allowed non-Kashmiris to buy lands and permanently settle in the state (35A). It is feared by Kashmiris that BJP led government tends to make this Muslim-majority state into a Hindu-majority one and their doubts are justified. As it was hinted by a BJP member and the number of applications submitted for domicile certificates within a few days.
Shubhankar Dam, the author of the book “Presidential Legislation in India” and a law professor at the University of Portsmouth in Britain, said, “My view is that this presidential notification is illegal. The question is one of jurisdiction: Does the government of India have the power to do this?”
In an audio message sent to India today TV People’s Democratic Party Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Strongly condemned Narendra Modi on this act. “August 5 is black day for democracy when like thieves, Parliament took away what it had given to the people of Kashmir.”
P Chidambaram, a senior leader of the opposition Congress Party referred to the decision as a “catastrophic step” and warned parliament that it could have deleterious consequences.
“You may think you have scored a victory, but you are wrong and history will prove you to be wrong. Future generations will realize what a grave mistake this house is making today,” he said.
Pakistan’s commitment to human rights and democracy has always been clear in this regard. Pakistan has raised the matter in the United Nations and on several international platforms. It has decided to stand with Kashmir and to help its voice reach the world.
The matter is not either just India’s internal matter as their leadership is claiming or even a bilateral one. It is a multilateral matter of immense importance. This is the matter of almost 13 million lives. This decision has not only jeopardized the lives of those people amidst the turbulence, chaos, and agitation, but also the peace of the whole continent. It has brought two nuclear powers to face to face with each other.
This matter, however, can only be solved by knowing the take of Kashmiris on this matter. No one can decide better than those who have lost their families for this cause. This is their right, and no one else’s.
• Government of India. 1950. “Part XXI. – Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions. – Art. 370” The Constitution of India. https://www.india.gov.in/sites/upload_files/npi/files/coi_part_full.pdf
• Goel, Vindu. 2019. “What Is Article 370, and Why Does It Matter in Kashmir?” The New York Times. Last modified August 5, 2018.https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/world/asia/india-pakistan-crisis.html
• “Don’t dismember Kashmir, P Chidambaram tells Centre on scrapping of Article 370, bifurcation of J&K.” India Today. Last modified August 5, 2019
• “Darkest day for democracy: Revoking Article 370 will have catastrophic effects, says Mehbooba Mufti” India Today. Last modified August 5, 2019