Sunday, 21 April 2019

BJP’s Poll Tactics and Article 35 (A)

  • January 16, 2019

By Dr. Arif Javid

Indian deep state has been using every tactic to con the Kashmir’s Political chess board. It may be recalled that BJP had also floated” 44plus Strategy before the sham elections of 2014. Out of total of 87 seats of occupied Kashmir, 46 are from valley and 41 belong to Jammu & Ladakh. 44 plus strategy focuses on Jammu Ladakh and few seats in valley. Failing to subdue the spirit of the Kashmiris through repression, India is also using judicial and political maneuvers to get desired results.

In a similar attempt, probable revocation of Article 35A (property rights in J&K) and Article 370 (special status to J&K in Indian Constitution) through judiciary, is being attempted.

Through RSS backed Indian Administered Kashmir (IAK) based think tank, titled “We the Citizens’ under Chetan Sharma, the conveners filed a petition in Indian Supreme Court to discuss article 35A. A thre- judge bench of Indian SC comprising of ex CJI Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud were to hear the petition. Initially the bench was scheduled to hear the petition on 6 Aug 2018, however, postponed to 18 Sep and again postponed till 2019 due to impending protests.

In anticipation to an antagonistic decision Kashmiri Ieadership / people rose to the occasion. Mirwaiz  Umer Farooq said, “Any tinkering with the law will not be tolerated”. Resistance  leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik observing strike in the Valley warned for launching of mass agitation if any tinkering is allowed with the constitutional provision.

Former CM and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti said, “Any tinkering with it would turn the state into a veritable inferno”. National Conference president Farooq Abdullah warned that his party won’t allow the Centre to fiddle with the political status.

It has become a known fact in Indian Administered Kashmir (IaK) that the cases filed in the Supreme Court to challenge the demographic character of the Muslim majority state, have been done at the behest of BJP.

Indian deep state has tried to abrogate Article 35A of the Indian constitution unilaterally without undergoing the formality of obtaining concurrence from the IaK government / legislature. As Article 370 was enacted on 26 November 1949 as part of the Constitution of India by the Constituent Assembly of India and Article 35A “flows inexorably” from it. Article 35 A empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define and regulate the rights and privileges of the permanent resident of the state, especially in regard to the acquisition of immovable property, appointments to services, and other such matters.

Persons affiliated with legal fraternity in India, also raised question about attempt of BJP sponsored move to scrap 35 A. It is strongly felt by them that Article 370 accorded to J&K a set of special privileges, including an exemption from constitutional provisions governing other states. N Gopalaswami Ayyangar, the chief drafter of Article 370 had admitted in October 1949 that “Kashmir’s are special and require special treatment.”

Interestingly, Indian Supreme Court during two petitions in 60’s and 70s had already made clear that J&K enjoys a special status under Article 370 and no fiddling can be made with regard to 35A.

Indian has adjourned the proceedings on Article 35A till Jan 2019 apparently to defuse the boiling pot in IaK. However, the tactics are discernible as Modi and Indian deep state will try to exploit or it to play Hindu- Muslim card.

Media may expose the sinister maneuvers of Indian deep state for attempting to change the demography of IaK. Kashmiris want an end to Indian occupation. India must understand that it has, militarily and politically, failed to win Kashmir. Any attempt to fiddle with Article 370 (35A) will not be tolerated by the Kashmiri people.

Pakistan also condemns such sinister attempts on the part of Indian deep state. There is a need for projecting it in Kashmir on weekly basis highlighting the week long events to sensitize the world community and regional countries. Moreover, awareness campaigns highlighting related developments in IaK including 35A/370 controversies, mass graves, rapes, killings etc need to be projected regularly.

The writer is a political analyst; views expressed by him are entirely his own.

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