Effects and Consequences on Removal of Article 35A and Article 370

What is Going on in the State of Jammu and Kashmir: The Paradise on Earth?

Kashmir, God’s heaven on earth, known for its beautiful frost-covered mountains, breathtaking sunsets by the Dal Lake, clear blue waters, mesmerising skies and vast fertile green lands, was recently shocked by an amendment put forward by the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

Shah was confident of securing a majority in the Rajya Sabha for the Bill (PTI Photo)
Shah was confident of securing a majority in the Rajya Sabha for the Bill

Revoking of Article 35A and Article 370

Home Minister Amit Shah in a sudden move, decided to revoke the Article 35A and Article 370 which gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir its “special status”. The citizens of Jammu and Kashmir were very disgruntled by this amendment as they believe it goes against the very nature of their bilateral treaty, which is true.

Districts of Jammu & Kashmir
Districts of Jammu & Kashmir

To thoroughly understand why they were angered by this revocation, We must first understand what the Article 35A and Article 37 are, their origin and history, what do they mean, their significance and their importance.  Let’s start by first knowing what the (IoA) is.

What is the (IoA)?

The (IoA) or the Instrument of Accession came into play after the Indian subcontinent gained independence from the British in August 1947. As many as six hundred states had to choose whether to join the dominion of India or Pakistan or remain independent, But What does that have to do with Kashmir?

Raja Hari Singh, the Dogra ruler of Kashmir at the time had initially decided to remain independent and had signed agreements with India and Pakistan but following an invasion from tribesmen and army men in plainclothes from Pakistan, panicked and sought the help of India, which in turn led to the accession of Kashmir to India on the condition that the state will have its independent governance, a separate constitutions, its laws and that no non-resident/ not a state subject of Jammu and Kashmir will be able to buy land there.

The only areas where the government of Jammu and Kashmir and the government of India would act in unison were foreign affairs, security and communications.

Then ruler Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947, and Governor-General Lord Mountbatten accepted it on October 27, 1947.

The Importance of Article 370 and Article 35A

Article 370

Article 306A (now 370) was passed in the Constituent Assembly on May 27, 1949.

Article 370 – which is a part of the Constitution, deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions”. It grants Jammu and Kashmir a special autonomous status. Constitutional provisions that apply to other Indian states do not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Water Scene Dal Lake Black And White

The article stated that Kashmir’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as a result of this, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir.

Article 35A

Article 35A of the Indian constitution allows the state legislatures to define the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

article 35a

It defines permanent residents as anyone who was a state subject at the time of its adoption, Someone who was a lifelong resident in 10 years and has bought an immovable object.

This means that Indians cannot get jobs or purchase property in Jammu and Kashmir. It was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.

What was the effect of cancelling of Articles 35A and 370?

Cancellation of articles 35A and 370 will have major effects on the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Till now it has sparked fear among residents and their sentiments. Of being betrayed by their own country which they trusted.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti (left) and Omar Abdullah have been placed under house arrest late Sunday night.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti (left) and Omar Abdullah have been placed under house arrest late Sunday night.

The political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir – Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were put on house arrest. The whole police force of the state was disarmed; all forms of communications lines were cut off. A massive internet blockage was in place with television services cut off as well. People have stocked up on food and all the shops, universities, institutions and offices, as well as nursing homes and hospitals, are shut down.

Indian paramilitary soldiers force a Kashmiri child to perform sit-up while holding his ear lobes before letting him go during a strike in Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Indian paramilitary soldiers force a Kashmiri child to perform sit-up while holding his ear lobes before letting him go during a strike in Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir.

It has been fifteen days since people haven’t heard from their families. The dissolving of articles 35a and 370 may lead to a massive influx of Indians into Jammu and Kashmir and large-scale acquisition of properties there which will lead to swift demographic changes that may turn Kashmiri residents into a minority in their state. Plus, it may lead to a rise in sectarian hostilities.

At the same time, this step might have been used to raise PM Narendra Modi’s popularity and make him go down in history. Such a step will prove to be an increased affirmation to Modi’s Indian nationalism agenda (or Hindutva), after all, many of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) voters have looked at article 35A as unfair to them since it prevents Indians to work or own a property in Kashmir and yet Kashmir is under Indian military protection from any invasion.

So, what’s next?

So far Hundreds-thousands of people have demonstrated in front of the Indian embassy in the United Kingdom, united states of America, Qatar, Bahrain, et cetera. In Jammu and Kashmir, demonstrations have been on for the past few days, and Indian authorities have responded with a harsh crackdown although the country proudly denies any such happenings.

Uday Foundation team along with JK Police helping Jammu Kashmir flood victims
Uday Foundation team along with JK Police helping Jammu Kashmir flood victims | Wikipedia Commons

On the diplomatic stage, the United Nations security council has called for an urgent meeting on Kashmir but failed to reach any pivotal decision. China has announced its support for Pakistan which vehemently rejects the Indian step to acquire Jammu and Kashmir completely forcefully.

What can go wrong?

Unrest in this northern state has been going for a decade and is nothing new. Since 1990, 70000 Kashmiris have been killed, 10000-15000 have disappeared, 8000-10000 are in their unmarked mass graves.

This step put forward by PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah will do nothing but instigate and inflame the tensions. We have seen various militant group gaining a foothold in the southern Kashmir. A lot of the militants who have been killed in the past months by Indian army were “scholars turned militants”, most recently were Mannan Wani and Sabzar Ahmad Sofi.

On the other side, Jammu and Kashmir look like a promising opportunity for Pakistan to gain a foothold proximal to India. Even worse, Pakistan could find a friend in the betrayed, disgruntled and radicalised youth who may turn even more towards militancy. This may prove to be critical for the Indian government to handle.

Stationed troops in an unfriendly environment might turn the place into an urban nightmare for the Indian soldiers if things were to escalate. The poor citizens will get caught in the crosshairs between militants and Indian soldiers. The damage to property, environment and the economy of Kashmir will be very severe, saddening as well as expensive.

All over the world, we are seeing a campaign against India because of what has happened in Jammu and Kashmir. Since this situation is not getting any better, we are looking at various scenarios, most of them have an overwhelming possibility of increased violence from the army and retaliation from the residents.

As long as this decision remains in motion, more militant groups will start growing and gaining momentum rapidly. The harsh crackdown will act as a catalyst accelerating the situation till it might just fall off the edge. Peace maintained on a gunpoint is extremely short-lived. Some reparations have to be made quickly by the Government of India, or this may turn into a largescale catastrophe.

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