Article 370 is making big news all over the country, but how many actually know what it means and how it is going to change things in Jammu & Kashmir?
Home Minister Amit Shah revoked two key constitutional provisions – Article 370 and Article 35(A) which till now gave the state of Jammu & Kashmir a host of special rights. The decision was announced at the Rajya Sabha by Amit Shah.
What Does Article 370 Mean?
According to the Constitution of India, Article 370 provides temporary provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy. The special autonomy meaning special powers conferred upon Jammu & Kashmir state, enabling it to have its own constitution, flag and autonomy over all matters, except certain policy areas such as foreign affairs and defense. It was introduced in 1949 and drafted in 1947 by Sheikh Abdullah, who had been appointed prime minister of Jammu & Kashmir by Maharaja Hari Singh and Jawahar Lal Nehru. Article 370 is drafted in Amendment of the Constitution section, in Part XXI, under Temporary and Transitional Provisions.
Article 370 states that the provisions of Article 238, which was omitted from the Constitution in 1956 when Indian states were reorganised, shall not apply to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Also under Article 370, the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.
However, Jammu & Kashmir is not the only state, as the Indian Constitution also provides special provisions to State of Maharashtra and Gujarat, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Karnataka, But Jammu & Kashmir enjoys the most special status over all. The residents of Jammu & Kashmir live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.
What is also different in Jammu & Kashmir is that Article 35(A) in Article 370, gives extra rights to the permanent residents of Jammu & Kashmir. It is under this article that citizens from rest of India are denied the right of owning property in Jammu & Kashmir while the residents of Jammu & Kashmir has the right to purchase and own permanent property in any part of India. It also states that if a female resident of Jammu and Kashmir marries a person, who is a resident of another state, she will not have the right to inherit property in Jammu & Kashmir.
Some provisions of Article 370 have been diluted over time but Article 35A had remained unchanged till now.
How Will Things Change In Jammu & Kashmir Now?
After Article 370 is scrapped from Jammu & Kashmir, people from anywhere in India will be able to buy property and permanently settle in the state. A separate Union Territory will be created for Jammu & Kashmir with legislature. While the Ladakh region is also being given the status of a Union Territory, without legislature.
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Speaking exclusively to Hot Friday Talks, filmmaker and activist, Ashok Pandit who is a Kashmiri Hindu by birth says, “I do not restrict myself to only Kashmir. This whole thing is not just about buying property and settling there only. It is how Article 370 and 35 (A) was used for their personal business, spreading terrorism and fighting against our country. They did not allow any other people to come and help Jammu Kashmir to grow, they wanted to convert the whole of Kashmir to an Islamic state. The only hurdle that stopped them were the Kashmiri Hindus, see how they threw us all out! That was their purpose and they used Article 370 for that. What I mean to say is it is not only about property but this was to spread terrorism and to see that Pakistan rules Kashmir. Now this cancer, that was ruling Jammu & Kashmir has been finally cured ”
According to Pandit, India is finally on it’s way to prosper. “India will prosper now because India was bleeding because of this Article 370 in Kashmir as terrorism affected the entire country, the entire world. One can say, that the nursery school for terrorism that was thriving in Kashmir will finally shut down because the power has come to the centre and taken away from the three families that ruled and dominated Jammu Kashmir. These families were minting money in the name of carpets, drugs and terror funding. These families were all pro terrorism and this I would say is India’s victory not just Kashmir’s. Now you will see Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir grow.”
He is optimistic and is looking forward to all the positive changes that will happen in Kashmir. He also looks forward to going back to the house that belonged to him in Kashmir, and yes I have an open invitation for a Kashmiri lunch at his home!