Tuesday June 18, 2019
Home India Article 35-A ...

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

0
//
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.

Also read: India and Pakistan have to become Peaceful Neighbours, says Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti

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

Next Story

Rising State-Sponsored Terror, The History of Abduction in J&K

Several national and international organisations issued appeals to Al-Faran to release the tourists. Representatives of the embassies of the victims' countries also visited Kashmir frequently to seek their release, without success.

0
kidnappers
The kidnappers demanded the release of Pakistani militant Maulana Masood Azhar who had been imprisoned by India and 20 other prisoners. Pixabay

Considering the threat percept to India’s crown jewel – Jammu & Kashmir – India’s deep state knows its intensity and while it has developed responses, how does one deal with a fidayeen who is ready to die? State-sponsored terror now dovetailed with rising levels of local militancy are taking their toll on Indian security forces, asymmetrical warfare bleeding us through the famed military doctrine of death by a thousand cuts stratagem.

While this may have paid handsome dividends to ISI C Wing and the Jihadi complex that it nurtures, Kashmir Valley was thrown into chaos with a different tactic in the winter of 1989. The template was abduction and it paid handsome dividends.

Terroism/militancy/extremism was birthed out of this strategy. Since then the game plan has been changed repeatedly with great felicity and precision. The play list has seen many signature moves like the round of ethnic cleansing where well-known Kashmiri Pandits were systematically gunned down as ethnocentrism came centre-stage in Kashmir. For brutalising the psyche of the minority Hindu community to stampede them out of their home and hearth in the Valley, instilling the fear factor through a combination of kidnappings and race extermination — the power of the gun was unleashed.

The bleed India strategy has been predicated on keeping the pot boiling as nearly 700,000 Indian troops and paramilitary forces are at hyper vigil in Kashmir at very low cost to Pakistan, ensuring enormous expenditure to keep our military and polity bogged down.

Rewind to December 8, 1989, after much tumult and controversy with a V.P. Singh National Front government recently in place, a tumultuous event takes place. Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s daughter Rubaiya is abducted by JKLF militants and the world is turned upside down. Top erstwhile Jan Morcha leaders arrive at the house of Sayeed, where he is inconsolable as Arun Nehru, Arif Mohammad Khan and Satya Pal Malik (now Governor of J&K) are trying to convince him to appear on the national television to say that she is the nation’s daughter and it’s imperative that she be set free.

But a tearful Sayeed has lost all reason to think, overcome by extreme emotion, for obvious reasons. He refuses to do anything – stunned and struck by inertia.

Just six days earlier Mufti Saheb had taken oath as the first Kashmiri Muslim Home Minister in V.P. Singh’s government. At the same time, JKLF’s Asfaq Majid Wani wanted to do something spectacular in Kashmir Valley. His charter was to kick-start the “revolution” and he didn’t know where to begin.

Watching the oath-taking of Mufti Saheb, he thought of an audacious PLO-type of plan to rattle the newly formed government. The original plot, conceived by Wani, was to kidnap Mufti’s son, reportedly a doctor in Lal Ded hospital. But once recces were carried out, the son turned out to be a daughter – Dr Rubaiya Sayeed. As she finished her shift and left for home around 3 p.m. on December 8 boarding a bus at Exhibition Crossing, JKLF militants took over the bus with Wani and others following in a car.

terrorism
A note released by the kidnappers a day after the kidnappings read, “Accept our demands or face dire consequences. We are fighting against anti-Islamic forces. Western countries are anti-Islam, and America is the biggest enemy of Islam.” Pixabay

Around 5.30 p.m., JKLF top brass Javed Mir called up ‘Kashmir Times’ and relayed the news of abduction of the Union Home Minister’s daughter. All hell broke loose, with phones ringing non-stop in the Valley and Delhi. The triumph of V.P. Singh slaying Rajiv Gandhi was lost in translation as panic gripped the security mavens.

After 122 hours in captivity, against the wishes of then J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, five top separatists were released for Rubaiya. It became a watershed moment for Kashmiris as they brought India to its knees.

Since then the trajectory in Kashmir has been southwards.

One would think that the next big play was the hijacking of IC 814, taking it to Kandahar and securing the release of Maulana Masood Azhar, but then we are missing the wood for the trees.

The swapping of three militants for 155 hostages of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane was not the first incident of its kind after Rubaiya Sayeed’s kidnapping in 1989, but one of several high-profile kidnappings which have gone unnoticed. Following the Rubaiya playbook, innumerable abductions took place and the release of many militants took place. The period between December 1989 and January 1992 saw frenetic abductions.

Prominent among them was the abduction of Tassaduq Dev, brother-in-law of then Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad by Al Umar Mujahideen in January 1992. Three jailed activists of Al Umar were set free in exchange for Dev’s release on January 17. Before this came the abduction of Nahida Soz, daughter of then National Conference MP Saifuddin Soz, by Jammu and Kashmir Students Liberation Front (JKSLF) in August 1991. Nahida was released when the government set free a Pakistan-trained hard-core militant, Mushtaq Ahmed.

Indian Oil Corporation Executive Director K. Dorraiswamy was abducted by activists of Ikhwan-Ul Muslimeen in Srinagar on July 29, 1991. His release on August 21 was possible when the government set free six militants. The released militants, included Javed Shalla, main accused in the kidnap and murder cases of Kashmir University Vice-Chancellor Mushir-Ul Haq and HMT General Manager H.L. Khera in 1990. Seven more militants were set free to seek the release of Mir Nassar Ullah, son of former J&K Minister G.M. Mir Lasjan, A.K. Dhar, scientist and T.K. Raina, retired Deputy Commissioner, abducted in March 1992.

There have been many other such instances – kidnappings of Dr Mustafa Aslam, son-in-law of then PCC President Ghulam Rasool Kar (February 24, 1992), Fayaz Ahmed Sheikh, son of then Additional Chief Secretary Sheikh Ghulam Rasool (March 21, 1992) and Ghulam Hassan Zia, assistant station director of AIR (April 1992). It is not known how the Government made their release possible.

Similarly, Allah Tigers militant outfit abducted former Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Habib-Ullah Bhat on March 2, 1992 and released him a month later on April 3. The number of militants, if any, set free in exchange for his release is not known. Likewise, J&K Bank chairman M.S. Qureshi was abducted on June 28, 1992 and later released unconditionally.

The Rubaiya Sayeed case had set a precedent for kidnappings for seeking release of jailed militants. According to government statistics, the state witnessed an upsurge in abductions after Rubaiya’s kidnapping. While only one kidnapping, that of Rubaiya, was reported in 1989, 169 abductions were reported in 1990, 290 in 1991, 281 in 1992, 349 in 1993 and 368 in 1995. It virtually became a cottage industry.

Incidentally, in one of these kidnapping cases, no militant was released for seeking release of Kashmir University Vice-Chancellor Mushir-Ul Haq and HMT GM H.L. Khera in 1990. They were killed by the captors.

In a first, six Western tourists were kidnapped by Al-Faran, an Islamist militant organisation from the Liddarwat area of Pahalgam in the Anantnag district on July 4, 1995. The government refused to succumb to their demands. The six victims included two British tourists, Keith Mangan (from Middlesbrough) and Paul Wells; two Americans, John Childs of Simsbury, Connecticut, and Donald Hutchings of Spokane, Washington; a German, Dirk Hasert; and a Norwegian, Hans Christian Ostr�. Mangan’s and Hutchings’ wives were left behind by the kidnappers as their husbands were abducted.

terrorism
After 122 hours in captivity, against the wishes of then J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, five top separatists were released for Rubaiya. It became a watershed moment for Kashmiris as they brought India to its knees. Pixabay

A note released by the kidnappers a day after the kidnappings read, “Accept our demands or face dire consequences. We are fighting against anti-Islamic forces. Western countries are anti-Islam, and America is the biggest enemy of Islam.” Childs managed to escape and was rescued four days later. Ostr� was beheaded by his abductors and his body was found near Pahalgam on August 13, 1995. His body was taken to AIIMS, New Delhi, where a postmortem was conducted by Professor T.D. Dogra, who established the beheading as ante mortem and reported that the words ‘Al Faran’ were carved onto his chest.

The kidnappers demanded the release of Pakistani militant Maulana Masood Azhar who had been imprisoned by India and 20 other prisoners.

Several national and international organisations issued appeals to Al-Faran to release the tourists. Representatives of the embassies of the victims’ countries also visited Kashmir frequently to seek their release, without success.

Also Read: Guidelines For Filing Conflict Complaints, BCCI Comes Up With Its List Of Ethics And Regulations

In December 1995, the kidnappers left a note that they were no longer holding the men hostage. Mangan, Wells, Hutchings, and Hasert have never been found and are presumed to have been killed. In May 1996, a captured militant told Indian investigators and FBI agents that he had heard that all four hostages had been shot dead on December 13, 1995, nine days after an Indian military ambush that killed four of the original hostage-takers, including the man said to have been leading them, Abdul Hamid Turki.

Journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark claim, however, in their book ‘The Meadow’, that the remaining hostages were sold from Al-Faran to Ghulam Nabi Mir, also known as Azad Nabi, who held them for months before shooting them dead on December 24, 1995. (IANS)