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Article 35A: Everything you need to know about the much-debated provision for J&K


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It was long overdue. It was needed. I do not like the way it was imposed, but that is a different matter.

The Union Government on Monday revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, by way of a presidential order. The government also introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill in the Rajya Sabha which proposes to divide the state into two Union Territories: Ladakh without a legislature and Jammu-Kashmir with a legislature.

The development came amid a fierce debate on the Article 35A of the Indian Constitution. The provision empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent resident” of the state. Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government came to power at the Centre, it has been calling for the abrogation of the provision.

What is Article 35A and how did it come about?

The much-debated Article 35A provides the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature the power to define and decide who qualifies as the permanent residents of the state and to confer upon them special rights and privileges in regard to employment, purchasing immovable property in the state, scholarships and other forms of aid and welfare that the state government provides.

Article 35A was included in the Constitution by a presidential order without following the procedure prescribed for amendment of the Constitution of India under Article 368.

A countrywide vote would have given a supermajority for the government and validated this action. But as usual, it was forced down the throat as arbitrarily as any other decision by this government. So now expect the worst.


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What does Centre resolution on Article 370 mean?

  • The special status given through the Constitution to Kashmir has ended, the government said today after Home Minister Amit Shah informed parliament that Article 370 has been abolished with the President signing an order that comes into effect "at once."
  • The announcement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting of his Cabinet at his official residence on Monday morning.
  • Article 370 gives Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters barring defence, communications and foreign affairs.
  • The removal of this part of the constitution ends special status for Kashmir, which was key to its accession to India in 1947.
  • The government has also said it wants parliament to clear a proposal that bifurcates the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories which are effectively semi-states. Jammu and Kashmir would be one union territory with its own legislature, like Delhi; Ladakh would be the other but without its own assembly.
  • Shah said that the govt proposed for the UT status for Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of on an assessment of the "prevailing security situation" fueled by cross-border terrorism.
  • Article 370 made it necessary for the Centre to get the state legislature's approval for introducing any policies or constitutional powers to the state.? This, in turn, means that the Governor, who is being treated as the 'State' government at the moment, was able to move the resolution to the President. So, Article 370 will be abrogated by President order in conjunction with passage and ratification by Parliament by a simple majority.


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With the repealing of Art 370 and 35 A the Kashmiri Pandits who are living in ghettos in New Delhi and suburbs, should be able to return to their original own land and try to re-establish their roots.
That the likes of Mufti Mehbooba, Farouk and Omar Abdullah, as well as the pack of Kashmiri Separatists have been shown their place, is a good augury.
Very soon, Kashmir should be another full fledged state and Jammu should be integrated with it, along with the part of Kashmir which is now under the control of Pakistan.
If necessary, we should go to war, with Pakistan, to end this uncertain state of affairs.
Jawaharlal Nehru could not approach the Kashmir problem objectively, since he was a Kashmiri, his vision was subjective. Had Vajpayee's rule continued uninterrupted, we could have had this development much earlier. Better late than never.
I am in full support of the Government of India, in this and congratulate the Prime Minister and his team.
Jai Hind.


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Here's a detailed Article in "The Indian Express" published today explains what exactly Articles 370, 35A say. Please open the weblinks and read.



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With one stroke of a pen, the Government of India, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has dramatically and radically altered the relationship between the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Union, the dynamics of the highly contentious politics in that conflict-ridden state, and the contours of India-Pakistan negotiations on the Kashmir question.

While the BJP will politically benefit from this bold move, one will have to wait and see whether it will be able to implement its twin decision to scrap Article 370 and undoing Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood without acrimony, bloodshed and further alienation within the Kashmir Valley.

While there was sufficient indication that the BJP might act on its traditional promise of abrogating Article 370, it’s the manner in which it has gone about it is surprising. In one sense, by bifurcating the state into two segments and making them Union Territories, the BJP has gone way beyond its own past rhetoric of merely abrogating Article 370 and trifurcating the state. It’s not a “surgical strike”, it’s an open-heart surgery, and there will be bleeding.

The message from Monday’s decisions is loud and clear: New Delhi, from now on, won’t be keen on taking the difficult but democratically prudent path of peace-building in Kashmir, nor would it be willing to keep Kashmir on the negotiating table with Pakistan. So, when the BJP leadership says that a “historic wrong” has been corrected in Kashmir, what it perhaps means is that the integration of J&K into the Indian Union is “now’ complete, notwithstanding the country’s official position on the part currently in Pakistan’s possession.
The easy part, of issuing a Presidential Order, and announcing it in the Parliament, while keeping a tight grip on the security situation in the Valley, is over. Now comes the difficult part of justifying the constitutionality of the decision, and this would most definitely lead to a long drawn out legal battle.

So, what explains the timing of this radical decision? From a domestic political perspective, the BJP might have correctly calculated that doing so before the assembly elections in the state would enable it to push the decision through, while President’s Rule is still in force.



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More so, the emerging geopolitical dynamics in Afghanistan, and the resultant United States-Pakistan rapprochement, could have potentially led to more heat on the Kashmir situation in the months ahead. The recent Kashmir tweets by President Donald Trump clearly indicated that. By “integrating J&K fully” into the Indian Union, New Delhi now expects to brazen out any such pressure. To that extent, this is also a message to the international community of how it will regard the former’s opinions on Kashmir from now on -- with indifference.

The international community has seemingly decided to wait and watch, not that the New Delhi of today loses sleep over what the opinion makers of the international community has to say about it. The international community, including the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, is likely to adopt a cautious approach to the decision by New Delhi which, strictly speaking, is a domestic issue. Their concerns might only come to the fore if this leads to more violence.

The bigger challenge, however, is not legal, but political. Clearly, it’s a major political victory for the BJP, especially given how the several fence-sitting regional parties — including the Aam Aadmi Party, which has been an in-principle supporter of full statehood — went on to support the J&K Reorganisation Bill. The separatist parties in the Valley will increase their political fight against New Delhi. Militancy would once again see a rise in the Valley, with or without support from Pakistan. And terror elements in Pakistan would find Kashmir to be most fertile now more than ever to create trouble. As a result, Kashmir’s streets could witness more violence and anarchy in the days ahead once the curfew if lifted, and the Valley is reconnected to the rest of the world.

More significantly, by “un-making” the J&K state, New Delhi has made the entire pro-India political mainstream in the Valley politically irrelevant, administratively powerless, and worthless from a conflict-resolution perspective. Consider a moment, the combined effect of the disillusionment and alienation of the Kashmiri youth and the

irrelevance of the mainstream Kashmiri political class. It is unlikely to be good news. The Indian State might win the day with sheer force, but what of its legitimacy in a state where everyone, including the pro-India parties, would be bitter, angry and desperate?

The BJP seems to think that its radical steps vis-à-vis Kashmir is some sort of a magic bullet for all of Kashmir’s ills, and that’s exactly where it may have faulted in its judgement. For one, there are no magic bullets in conflict resolution, and more importantly, minority rights, in this case those of the Kashmiris, can’t be divorced from the inherent workings of a mature democracy.



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The speculation over Jammu and Kashmir is over with the announcement of revocation of Article 370, and the division of the state into two Union Territories. To some, it was evident that the events of the past few days had less to do with an enhanced security threat, but were carried out with a political objective in mind. The discussions over Article 370 has two sides. This subject will now be hotly debated in Parliament, and perhaps, in the Supreme Court. However, the Union government has taken a decision, and the immediate task is to deal with the challenges that this decision will bring.

The first, and most obvious result could be a worsening of the law and order situation in the Kashmir Valley. An immediate parallel could be drawn with the situation that erupted following the killing of militant Burhan Wani in July 2016. However, the difference with 2016 is that the government and security forces are much better prepared today to deal with any disturbance. The scale of the protests in 2016 came as a surprise to the security forces, but the recent pre-emptive deployment of additional forces into Jammu and Kashmir enables the state government to deal appropriately with any situation.

If large-scale protests do erupt, how they are handled will be extremely important. Obviously, a breakdown of law and order cannot be accepted, but the response of the security forces must be measured. Large-scale deaths and injuries to civilians will leave long-term scars, and will make conflict resolution more difficult.

Pakistan can be expected to fish actively in the troubled waters of Kashmir. Buoyed by the recent statements of United States President Donald Trump on mediation, Pakistan will attempt to internationalise the issue of Kashmir. I do not see any great success in Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts, as the world is mostly tired of Islamabad’s duplicity on terrorism, and sees Kashmir as an internal matter of India. Pakistan will undoubtedly step up its support to terror activities in Kashmir. This is perhaps the last chance it has of showing its backing to the cause of azadi (freedom) in Kashmir. If Pakistan does nothing, it could lose credibility not only in Kashmir, but also among terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad that are virtually an arm of the Inter-Services Intelligence.



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However, there are limits to Pakistan’s response. Hobbled by international pressure and a dire financial situation, Pakistan needs to keep its actions calibrated to ensure that the situation does not escalate to a conventional conflict. The Indian Army’s deployment along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir is extremely robust, and will not allow large-scale infiltration. Notwithstanding this, a major terror incident in Kashmir cannot be ruled out, and it will primarily be the responsibility of intelligence agencies to ensure that there is no repeat of a Pulwama-type attack.

It is also essential to not look at tackling the situation purely through a security approach. If the government’s action aims to find a resolution to the Kashmir conflict, it has to take the local population into confidence. This is perhaps the most difficult task as past activities of the government have only increased suspicion and alienation among the Kashmiris. As long as this alienation is not addressed, long-term solutions will not be forthcoming.

In the military, one essential component of a counter-insurgency campaign is winning the “battle of the narrative”. It is the success of our communication strategy that will turn the youth away from the path of extremism towards the benefits of supporting the government’s policies. This aspect has not received enough attention while dealing with Kashmir.

It must also be understood that narratives are more than verbal messages; they also need visible actions to show the sincerity of the political leadership in finding a just solution. The decision of the government must not be painted in terms of victory or defeat, but as a win-win for everyone. The advisory to various state governments to ensure the safety and security of the residents of Jammu and Kashmir is a step in the right direction. It must now be followed up by a genuine outreach to the people of the state.

The revocation of Article 370 is undoubtedly a momentous step. The strategy that the government adopts to handle its fall out will define the success of this move.



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Bhubaneswar Kalita, who is Congress whip in Rajya Sabha, resigned on Monday. He quit the party saying he disagreed with its stand on Article 370 as it was “against the mood and emotions of the nation”. “Congress is committing suicide,” said Kalita, according to NDTV.

Earlier in the day, the Rajya Sabha adopted a resolution to recommend to the President that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution be revoked. The Upper House of Parliament also passed a bill to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories – one, Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and the other, Ladakh, without one.

The Congress said that political parties will fight the Centre’s move and stand with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Congress has asked me to issue a whip on the Kashmir issue,” Kalita said. “But the truth is that the mood of the nation has completely changed and this whip is against the public sentiment across the country... It seems the Congress is committing suicide with this ideology and I don’t want to be part of this.” He accused the Congress’ leadership of trying to destroy the party. “I believe nothing can stop the party from being ruined,” he added.

During the debate, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the government had reduced Jammu and Kashmir to a non-entity. “It will be a black spot on India’s history when the day this legislation is passed,” Azad said. “Will you break and ruin the old India to create a New India?”

On July 30, Senior Congress leader Sanjay Sinh had also resigned from the party and gave up his Rajya Sabha membership. With Kalita’s exit, the Congress’ strength has come down to 46 in the 245-member house. The fall in opposition’s strength in the Rajya Sabha will help the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which is short of a majority in the Upper House.

The opposition parties are wrong to oppose this move, the entire majority in India is with the government's decision.


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india and pakistan divided based on religion...so religious minorities/majorities for vote game

of political parties....one nation and two set of rules....its bold step....somebody has to tie the bell to

cat...so bjp did it....congress never do it...


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What is achieved conclusively and what is remaining to be done? Does anyone have facts that are current? Are there any dangers for India as a result of this decision? Thanks


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What is achieved conclusively and what is remaining to be done? Does anyone have facts that are current? Are there any dangers for India as a result of this decision? Thanks
what precisely i want to learn from the latest development is how far the claim by Pakistan that kashmir belongs to the mand the consequent decade old continuing anmiosity between the two nations is going to be bettered? Does the repealing etc help in any way india on this poin?t


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Lockdown in Kashmir: 400 politicians, aides, separatist under arrest as Valley turns into massive prison.

As hotels, guest houses, private and government buildings were converted into makeshift jails in Kashmir, the Valley turned into a massive prison with as many as 400 politicians, aides and separatist leaders being put under arrest.

As per the government orders, hotels and guest houses like Centaur, Hari Niwas, Forest guest house, protocol building for government officials, and private building and quarters were made into subsidiary jails. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were put in separate cottages in Hari Niwas.

Any leader worth his or her salt was arrested, barring Dr Farooq Abdullah and 91-year-old separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, Dr Farooq Abdullah broke down in tears. The National Conference leader claimed that he was under house arrest even as the government denied it.

Farooq Abdullah, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar, spoke to media from behind his residence's gate and said that he was barred from casting his vote against abrogation of Article 370 against his will.

Former J&K CM's personal security officer Shafqat Khan, who was standing outside the house, said that Farooq Abdullah had been restricted in his Gupkar residence and even he could not get access.

"The move by the Modi government was completely unconstitutional," Farooq Abdullah said.

An emotional Farooq Abdullah said, "I am ready to take a bullet for Article 370. I don't know where my son is. The government has put me under house arrest."

Home Minister Amit Shah told Lok Sabha that Farooq Abdullah was not put under house arrest. But, clearly, there were restrictions put on him after he stormed out of his residence to speak to media persons early morning on Tuesday.

Sources said Mehbooba Mufti braved the arrest, packing two-three sets of clothes to wear. Request by her two daughters to meet her was rejected as there was strict implementation of the arrest. Omar Abdullah, on the other hand, had tears welled up in his eyes. Sources said, "Omar Abdullah was taken aback by his arrest."

The J&K Police DGP, Dilbagh Singh, said, "Political leaders were put under house arrest based on instructions from administration."

Sources indicated that the politicians in custody are unlikely to be bailed out soon. The action was taken against leaders, who were seen as more likely to make inciting statement, which would be inimical to the peace of the state. Sources said the drastic step was taken to ensure that there was not an iota of protest.

A government official told India Today TV, "People will take time to soak in the step. But that is the need of the hour."

Home Minister Amit Shah in Lok Sabha said, "We are not doing this for vote bank. This is done for the wellbeing of the country. We are doing this for the benefit of people of the Valley. We plan to infuse new hope in Jammu and Kashmir."

As parliament debated, the security forces and administration stood guard, to ensure everything was in its proper place.



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The Parliament passed the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, putting into motion a process for the first time in India’s history—converting a state into two union territories. Union home minister Amit Shah said in the Lok Sabha that this transition is temporary in nature and Jammu & Kashmir, at an appropriate time, will once again become a state. The transition will mean realigning the composition, responsibilities and powers of the government running the union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

Read more at: https://www.bloombergquint.com/law-and-policy/jammu-kashmir-the-administrative-changes-when-one-state-becomes-two-union-territories
Copyright © BloombergQuint


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What's happened now?
In the first few days of August, there were signs of something afoot in Kashmir.
Tens of thousands of additional Indian troops were deployed, a major Hindu pilgrimage was cancelled, schools and colleges were shut, tourists were ordered to leave, telephone and internet services were suspended and regional political leaders were placed under house arrest.

But most of the speculation was that Article 35A of the Indian constitution, which gave some special privileges to the people of the state, would be scrapped.

The government then stunned everyone by saying it was revoking nearly all of Article 370, which 35A is part of and which has been the basis of Kashmir's complex relationship with India for some 70 years.

How significant is Article 370?
The article allowed the state a certain amount of autonomy - its own constitution, a separate flag and freedom to make laws. Foreign affairs, defence and communications remained the preserve of the central government.
As a result, Jammu and Kashmir could make its own rules relating to permanent residency, ownership of property and fundamental rights. It could also bar Indians from outside the state from purchasing property or settling there.
The constitutional provision has underpinned India's often fraught relationship with Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority region to join India at partition.
Why did the government do it?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party had long opposed Article 370 and revoking it was in the party's 2019 election manifesto.

They argued it needed to be scrapped to integrate Kashmir and put it on the same footing as the rest of India. After returning to power with a massive mandate in the April-May general elections, the government lost no time in acting on its pledge.

Critics of Monday's move are linking it to the economic slowdown that India is currently facing - they say it provides a much-needed diversion for the government.

Many Kashmiris believe that the BJP ultimately wants to change the demographic character of the Muslim-majority region by allowing non-Kashmiris to buy land there.

Although Home Minister Amit Shah's announcement in parliament on Monday came as a surprise to most Indians, it would have taken the government some preparation to arrive at the decision.
The move also fits in with Mr Modi's desire to show that the BJP is tough on Kashmir, and Pakistan.
What's changed on the ground?

Kashmir will no longer have a separate constitution but will have to abide by the Indian constitution much like any other state.

All Indian laws will be automatically applicable to Kashmiris, and people from outside the state will be able to buy property there.
The government says this will bring development to the region.



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Is this all legal?
According to the constitution, Article 370 could only be modified with the agreement of the "state government". But there hasn't been much of a state government in Jammu and Kashmir for over a year now.
In June last year, India imposed federal rule after the government of the then chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, was reduced to a minority. This meant the federal government only had to seek the consent of the governor who imposes its rule.

The government says it is well within its rights to bring in the changes and that similar decisions have been taken by federal governments in the past.

But expert opinion is sharply divided.

One constitutional expert, Subhash Kashyap, told news agency ANI that the order was "constitutionally sound" and that "no legal and constitutional fault can be found in it".

However another constitutional expert, AG Noorani, told BBC Hindi it was "an illegal decision, akin to committing fraud" that could be challenged in the Supreme Court.

Opposition political parties could launch a legal challenge but Kashmir is an emotive issue with many Indians, and most parties would be wary of opposing the move lest they be branded anti-India.
That could leave any challenge up to individuals or activists.


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