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Article 35-A proves to be a disappointment more than a protector of rights to Valmikis, Gorkhas, and Women of Jammu and Kashmir

According to Article 35-A, the J&K state legislature has the right to define the term “permanent residents” and also to alter its definition

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Permanent Residents
Indian constitution’s Article 35-A empowers the state legislature of J&K to provide a definition of ‘permanent residents’ of the state. Wikimedia Commons
  • Article 35-A exists in the Constitution not as a part of the amendments’ list but as an appendix
  • It allows J&K state legislature to define the term “permanent residents” and also to alter its definition
  • Article 35-A was enacted to safeguard the rights of J&K’s permanent residents but Valmikis, Gorkhas, and women are being discriminated against

Jammu and Kashmir, August 12, 2017: Indian constitution’s Article 35-A empowers the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir to provide a definition of the state’s ‘permanent residents’ and provide them with special privileges and rights. It was incorporated in the Constitution by the then President of India on 14 May 1954 under an order known as the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954.

Article 368 underlines that no Constitutional amendments can take place in the absence of a parliamentary procedure. Article 35-A was not presented before the Parliament. It exists as an appendix instead of the amendments’ list in the Constitution. Article 35-A instead of providing special rights and privileges and/or protecting permanent residents of J&K, it has discriminated against some.

 Women have suffered the worst are the women amongst the others who are discriminated against.

According to Article 35-A, the J&K state legislature can define “permanent residents” and also change its definition.

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Till 2002, the female residents of J&K were being issued Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) with the tag ‘valid till marriage’ by the Revenue Department. In a case labeled Jammu and Kashmir Versus Dr. Sushila Sawhney and others, as per the majority opinion, the full bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court it was decided that a permanent resident’s daughter getting married to a nonpermanent resident or an outsider will not let go of the prestige of Jammu and Kashmir’s permanent residence.

In spite of the clear judgment by the High Court and its legal position, a committee was made by the Revenue Department of the state in 2016 to solve an already settled matter. The government at the center was not allowed to intervene, due to Article 35-A.

Marriage with an outsider: If a woman from Jammu-Kashmir marries someone who is an outsider, she will not be permitted to reside in the state in any circumstance. If a man belonging to another state gets married to a woman in J&K, he is not qualified to receive a PRC, including any of the benefits associated with it.

This conveys he is not eligible to be given a government job, his children are not eligible to enroll in institutes and professional colleges run by the state, and he cannot buy land.
This indicates that in the situation of a woman marrying an outsider, she will be obliged to leave her state and reside somewhere else. Before such women had to let go of the prestige of a permanent resident and even her spouse and offsprings didn’t get PRC. However, this does not happen if the involved resident is male.

Valmiki Families: The number of Valmiki families sent to J&K from Punjab in 1957 for the work of safai karamcharis were 200. All these families were ready to be employed in J&K after it was promised to them that the clause of  ‘permanent resident’ would be in their favor.

After five long decades, each family’s strength has grown and the employee numbers have gone up. Their plight, however, is that they will be regarded as J&K’s ‘permanent residents’ only if they work as safai karamcharis.

The offsprings of these families, who have been graduated, cannot give applications for government jobs. Even the literate youngsters belonging to their families can only work as safai karamcharis. The community that was allocated to safai karamcharis to reside in has not been standardized till now.

J&K’s Gorkhas: They were appointed to all the positions of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s army and after that Maharaja Gulab Singh’s. Their families resided in Jammu and Kashmir since 200 years and before, and are around 1 lakh in number. They are not given PRC on unreasonable grounds. The reason is Article 35-A which allows the state government to discriminate among the state’s permanent residents.

Now the question that arises is if Article 35-A was meant to safeguard the rights of Jammu and Kashmir’s permanent residents then why do Valmikis, Gorkhas, and women face discrimination?

If Article 35-A allows J&K’s government to be biased to the state’s permanent residents, then why shouldn’t it be repealed with immediate action? Such points need immediate attention to guard J&K’s permanent residents from further bias.

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter Hkaur1025

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BJP Hopeful of Getting its “First Chief Minister” in Jammu and Kashmir

Meanwhile, the BJP which shared power in the state with the PDP for three years from 2015 to 2018, did not get the top post

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BJP, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir has seen several Chief Ministers from Congress, National Conference and the People's Democratic Party (PDP). Flickr

The BJP is hopeful of getting its “first Chief Minister” in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 from the state two months ago, and the planned delimitation of the Assembly constituencies.

In an interview to IANS, Jammu and Kashmir Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Ravinder Raina said, “Jammu and Kashmir is a unit. And as President of BJP here, I am confident that we will have a BJP Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir very soon.”

Jammu and Kashmir has seen several Chief Ministers from Congress, National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Meanwhile, the BJP which shared power in the state with the PDP for three years from 2015 to 2018, did not get the top post and had to accept the post of Deputy Chief Minister.

BJP, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir
In an interview to IANS, Jammu and Kashmir Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Ravinder Raina said, Jammu and Kashmir is a unit. Flickr

When asked about the planned delimitation of constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, Raina said, “The Election Commission will take a final call on the delimitation of the Assembly constituencies here.”

Raina said the poll panel will constitute a commission, which will be headed by either a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge.

The BJP leader pointed out that the commission which will be constituted for the delimitation process will follow all the standard prodecures.

The government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution from Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 and also bifurcated the state into two union territories.

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Following the revocation of Article 370, the government has enforced a massive clampdown on communication and internet services in the state and deployed heavy security presence.

To a question over the clampdown for 60 days in the state, the state BJP chief said, “Soon after the abrogation of Article 370 the mobile connectivity and internet facility was suspended here.

“And now you are witnessing that the mobile connectivity and Wi-fi services are given a free hand and people are using those facilities here,” Raina said pointing towards the Wi-fi hotspots and connections provided to the citizens in Jammu.

Pointing towards the Kashmir valley, where only landlines connections and BSNL mobile networks are operating, he said, “In Kashmir valley too, the communication systems whether it is landline connections or BSNL mobile numbers are being operated and are given access.”

BJP, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir
And as President of BJP here, I am confident that we will have a BJP Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir very soon. Pixabay

“But there are still apprehensions that Pakistani agents may use the internet facilities to defame and to create mess and try to instigate the youth of the country,” he said on the internet suspension in Srinagar and other districts in the Kashmir valley.

Raina further said that Pakistani elements can instigate the youth and spread venom in the society and that is why preventive measures have been taken. “But soon you shall find all internet facilities will be opened and will be given free access,” he said.

India has on several occasions accused Pakistan of sponsoring terror and allowing its land to be used for terror activities. In recent days, the Indian Army and security forces have foiled terrorists’ attempts to enter Indian territory from the Pakistan side.

On India’s semi-high speed and feature-rich Vande Bharat Express arriving in Jammu from Delhi, he said, “We are thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for providing the best train that is Vande Bharat Express to Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370.

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He said “Vande Bharat Express will provide all sorts of relief to passengers that we have seen at the overcrowded railway stations of Jammu Tawi, Katra and Udhampur. It is a big gift for the people of Kashmir,” Raina added. (IANS)