Abrogation of 35(A): Collapsing the bridge | Saima Bhat

A controversy has been manufactured regarding the abrogation of the article 35 (A) of the Indian Constitution. The Article 35 (A) was added into the Indian constitution through a presidential order of then President of Union of India Mr Rajendra Prasad in the year 1954 as a sub-section to the article 370 which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

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J&K, the erstwhile Princely State of Kashmir, is the only state in India to have its own constitution and flag and some form of autonomy in certain other areas like state sponsored economic schemes.

It is under this article that the state of Jammu and Kashmir's "permanent residents" enjoy some special rights. It is thus the permanent residents alone who have the right to own property in the state, settle permanently and avail state sponsored economic benefits. 

The article 35 (A) which serves as a bridge between India and J&K was incorporated in 1954, wherein First Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru and the Prime of J&K Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah were at the helm of affairs.

As the debate over removal of article 35 (A) continues and the Supreme Court of India has deferred the hearing over it due to expected 'chaos' in the state, we ought to understand that the abrogation of article 35 A,  if not a mere political rhetoric for the vote bank, will eventually result in the mass unemployment in J&K as the competition for public employment would then be open to more than 1 billion people of India. The youth of the state would not get enough opportunities in higher education and the business class will have to compete much more than anyone can imagine for their survival. 

Moreover, a state like J&K which is one of the greatest tourist attractions across the globe, due to its natural beauty and rich heritage, will be degraded and deteriorated in a very short span of time. The environmental pollution will be a result of Industrialist and entrepreneur competitiveness which will be pushed in, from across the country. The native culture and language is going to be affected in a similar way as public employment and native businesses. 

The abolition of 35(A) therefore will not only dilute the promised autonomy granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution but will also worsen the situation of turmoil in J&K. Furthermore, the influx of outsiders, besides changing the demography of the state may eventually lead to the population explosion. We know that no population blast has been observed so far in J&K as has already been witnessed in other Indian states like Delhi, UP, WB etc. 

The ruthless competitiveness that is expected to accentuate after the abrogation of the article will allow the rich businessman to occupy more and more land by eliminating the hold of natives in due course of time.

Moreover the human interference in the natural environment will take place at an accentuated rate and we may face tragedies like that of Uttarakhand (2013), J&K (2014) more frequently. The land quality will deteriorate and inflation will shoot higher and higher which may eventually lead to many social evils not seen in the state so far.

The Protagonists of abrogation of the article, belonging to various Indian organisations, and those advocating their cause in J&K, who assure the imaginary 'improved employment' in the state with massive industrialisation, ignoring everything said above with the scraping of Article 35 (A) seem to undermine states like Bihar, UP, MP and Rajasthan where there's nothing like 35 (A) but they're socially economically and environmentally poorest pieces of land and people in the subcontinent. They're preaching only utopia, if not hatred for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

About the Author: Saima Bhatt is a student of B.A final at GDC Poonch.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are strictly personal and do not necessarily represent the views of the Pir Panjal Post

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