These days you might be hearing a lot of stories about Kashmir, Article 35A and Article 370 and Home Minister Amit Shah making an announcement that these two articles will be scrapped. What is this Article 370 and 35A and why BJP wants to remove it? This is the story of today’s post.
Background to the Problem of Jammu & Kashmir
It all began with Mohammad Ali Jinnah and his 2 nation theory. Mahatma Gandhi never wanted India to be separated into two countries. He was against this idea. But Jinnah’s two-nation theory and the violence that followed forced Mahatma to accept for the partition of the country. Thus Sindh and North-West Frontier provinces dominated by Muslims were given to Pakistan and Punjab was divided into East and West Punjab and East Punjab remained with India and West Punjab which had cities like Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad went to Pakistan. Bengal was divided into East and West Bengal and East Bengal was given to Pakistan and West Bengal remained with India.
There were 548 such tiny kingdoms which were with different kings were unified by Sardar Patel and unified with India. All of them which were made to join India courtesy Sardar Vallabhai Patel’s extremely hard work and negotiations. But three provinces presented a problem. Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir. These three had very similar problems and were big in Size compared to other provinces. Junagadh falls in Gujarat which had a Muslim ruler and Hindu majority. Hyderabad was Hindu dominant and Nizam wanted to keep it independent. Kashmir was Muslim dominant and the ruler was Hindu and he wanted to keep it independent.
Sardar Patel got Nizam under India’s control after sending the Indian army to fight Nizam while Nehru was outside the country. Whereas Plebiscite was used to decide Junagadh’s fate and people decided to stay with India. But the biggest problem of Jammu & Kashmir which was under Hindu ruler was not solved, he also wanted Kashmir to be Independent.
In November 1947, Pakistan sent its army to occupy Kashmir. Raja Hari Singh’s army was unable to stop them and realizing that the whole Kashmir will be occupied by Pakistan, Maharaja decided to unify Kashmir to India and signed a pact with Nehru giving the whole territory of Kashmir to India. Nehru sent his army and stopped Pakistan. But he did not drive them away from the territory they occupied. This was his first mistake. The second was to report this incident to UN which declared a ceasefire and declared that as disputed territory. The line of ceasefire is called LoC or Line of Control.
Conditions by Raja Hari Singh & Pakistan Occupied Kashmir
Another mistake by Govt was listening to Maharaja Hari Singh and accepting his conditions. First thing was that Hari Singh wanted Kashmir to have special rights.
Article 35A deals with Voting and Property rights. Article 35A restricts any outsider to buy or sell property in Kashmir and it’s only the Local Kashmiris right. Only between countries, this kind of rule is possible. People can visit Kashmir but can’t own any property there, people can’t get any govt jobs as they are outsiders. There are three laws State list, Concurrent list and Union List. All this three are very important and constitutes of crucial legal items from the Constitution. And, J&K is exempted from this, making it only state in Country to create all on its own.
Then Article 370 gives Special status, Separate flag, Special police to Kashmir. It also prohibits the army’s direct entry into the state. Which is why Govt created the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) which makes entry possible for Indian army into Jammu & Kashmir. This article also allows elections to be allowed for every 6 years and not 5 years.
India was battling this till the 1980s. It was in 1987 when Rajiv Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah rigged elections and installed an unpopular Govt there. That is when people of Kashmir rebelled and they were given support from Pakistan and thus militancy was born in Kashmir leading the way to the inception of JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front). This brought violence, elimination and driving away of Kashmiri pundits which were never heard before. Also, growing infiltration of Pakistani militants happens every year in the form of terrorists. We all know how much terrorism has affected India.
BJP in this election manifesto has clearly stated that they would scrap both Article 35A and Article 370 which will make J&K a bigger part of India’s development. It will make it easy for People to own lands, build hotels, increase tourism, create jobs and bring back all the shine that Jammu Kashmir needs.
Home Minister Amit Shah is continuously raising the issue and will be only some more time from now, the amendment bill will be tabled and we have to see what is going to happen in the coming days and we will have to see if this Govt will be successful in removing this 70 plus-year-old law and pave the way for “New Kashmir” as Amit Shah has put it.