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Abrogation Of Article 370 : A Step Towards Development Of Jammu & Kashmir?

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By Adrija Shukla:

One keeps hearing a lot about Article 370 of the Indian Constitution in print, electronic, as well as new media. It is the This Article grants special status to Jammu & Kashmir. The BJP mentioned in its manifesto that the party would abrogate it if it comes to power in the general elections of 2014. There was a lot of hue and cry when the Prime ministerial candidate of BJP, Mr. Narendra Modi, mentioned during his campaign in Jammu, that there should be a debate over pros and cons of article 370. Now that BJP is in power, debates over Article 370 have sparked off once again. Many national leaders are still advocating the relevance of this Article, but the question that rises here is – what are the people of India and the people of J & K getting from Article 370?

Kashmir article 370

Before analyzing this, let’s first see how this Article came into existence. During the time of independence, the unification of Indian republic was taking place. As many as 565 princely states were integrated into India under the dynamic leadership of Shri Sardar Patel, who was the country’s Home Minister then. Kashmir could also have been one of these if he would have been allowed to do so by the then Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Sheikh Abdullah, on the other hand, was an ambitious leader, who had a dream to rule an independent Kashmir. He persuaded Pt. Nehru to grant special status to Jammu & Kashmir, and was the architect of Article 370, along with Nehru. Pt. Nehru obliged and fulfilled his wish by appointing him the Prime Minister of J&K in 1947.

The main purpose of this Article was to ensure that the distinct identity of J&K’s population was preserved. Though the Article was introduced as a temporary provision that was to be removed in due course of time, that never happened, even after 66 years of independence.

The fact is that the provisions mentioned in the Article 370 separated J&K from India in the name of making it a part of it. The state has its own constitution and flag and the laws of Indian constitution cease to have an effect there. The most perverse aspect of this Article is that the Central government will have to seek the state’s concurrence to apply any law in the state. People of India have one citizenship, whereas the people of J&K have dual citizenship. Citizens from rest of India can’t buy property in J&K.

All these years, no political party has ever touched Article 370, fearing to lose their vote bank. If we ponder upon what special benefits this Article has given to the J&K people, we won’t be able to find much. Literacy rate of the state is 67.16%. Economic growth hasn’t been up to the mark, and poverty prevails in many areas. Every other day, we hear about attacks by terrorists in the state. People live in fear.

As other citizens are not allowed to buy property in the state, it is not able to get the benefits of private investments. This is affecting the economic growth of the state to a great extent. This is also affecting the youth, as the people are left with very little employment options – that, too, majorly from the government sector. As a result, they migrate to the other Indian states in search of jobs. Those who choose to stay there after completing the education and are not able to find jobs, fall prey to the anti-national activities in order to earn their living.

Immediately after Modi government took reigns of the country, Mr. Jitendra Singh, a minister of state, who hails from J&K , gave a statement that there should be a debate on the relevance on Article 370. There was an immediate reaction and resistance from the CM of J&K, Mr. Omar Abdullah, who tweeted that long after Modi Govt. is a distant memory, either J&K won’t be part of India, or Article 370 will still exist!

If it ceases to be a part of India, will it be able to survive independently? Let’s have a look to the aide provided by the central government to the state of J&K. J&K has not been able to generate sufficient revenues from its own resources and has been facing serious financial problems. J&K’s plan expenditure are 100% financed by the Central government. Kashmir is presently the most subsidized state of India. Bihar is the poorest state of India, but J&K gets 11 times more central assistance than Bihar.

Today, the general sentiment in the country is that Article 370 is doing no benefit to the people of J&K, and nor is it of any help to others. It has just become a barrier in the path of development of the state and the country, and benefiting only those who are trying to make selfish benefits out of power they were given to serve people. The state that is full of wonderful scenic beauty of the nature, and which was once regarded as the Switzerland of India, has become the battlefield, with a lot of violence, bomb blasts, murder of innocent people, and terrorist activities since the last 25 years. One is bound to ponder on whether Article 370 is responsible for all these ills of the state. It is high time that the new government takes a bold step and scraps Article 370, which continues to keep the state in isolation. Maybe the scrapping of Article 370 ends the agony of the people of J&K and paves the way for making of a Switzerland in India.

You must be to comment.
  1. Moin Mubarak

    This topic is very sensitive. Generally people outside the state fail to take into consideration one important aspect, the sentiments of people. The history of the place is very tragic and it requires a higher and deeper level of understanding than just of what appears in the news. The article didn’t talk of how the accession of India took place in Kashmir. How the armed revolution started and what were it’s effects on the people and the economy. To the people of Kashmir Article 370 is not just a hindrance in the economic development but much more than than. If you’re going to comment on the article then first look on the other side of the coin and then present your opinion. I’m sure it will be different.

  2. Ammar Bakhsh

    No one benefits from Kashmir . The level of obbsetion with the people of kashmir and its state of affairs is pathetic. The history and current affais fed to us are sooooooo biased , that critiques like these become just a case of ideal vision hypocrisy.

  3. Asma S Shah

    Adrija Shukla , your historical facts about the history of unification and integration of Kashmir is wrong . Kashmir was not unified , it was adopted . It is an ‘adopted state’ , the article 370 was never supposed to be ‘ dissolved’ as it is the pre condition for accession of Kashmir with India . I am very disappointed by the article . Secondly , political parties to not lose vote bank have not ever granted the separate parliament as promised to Kashmir . Also , you failed to mention the Maharaja and why Kashmir chose india !!!

    1. Chandeep

      Hey Asma, I too think the same. The history is a bit faulted. But the view expressed that 370 should be abolished is my opinion too. Abrogation of 370 will surely help Kashmir to show its true beauty and help it to become more economically stable. Don’t you think?

  4. Prashant Kaushik

    Whatever the history might have been, it is high time, the Archaic article is done away with. Kashmir is not the only state which can boast of special or different features or unique demography.
    Almost every state in India is pretty different from another. Think what Punjab, Kerala or Manipur can have in common. If the rest of India can be unified into a single region, with same rules, laws, standards, then why should Kashmir alone be treated as an exception.

    The more special provisions you give, the more separatist tendencies breed.

    1. Asma S Shah

      Your point of view is valid from your point of view ! But to any Kashmiri it will like a betrayal from India . We chose India , we chose to be Indian but if you agree on certain terms , you got to stick to that ! One’s got to keep their word ! It is how it is now , any revocation is a direct violation of the accession deed and hence will hold the agreement void !

  5. Rishabh Jain

    The thing is Kashmir was, just like many other states initiated into the union of India, but then Pakistan created a systematic war lobby around it. They first attacked in 1948, then in 1965 and then in 1999 to stop it from becoming so. What could happen if Kashmir was initiated into the union of India? Kashmir can’t be worse off than it is now. I believe Jammu (which everyone conveniently ignores) any day would want that, so you have half the state’s support right there. As far as Kashmir is concerned, half the state population lives outside the state (Kashmiri Pandits) and these people would definitely vote for the abrogation, which gives them a way to go back to their own homeland. Effectively if you were to consider the state as a whole, there is no doubt in my mind that Kashmir could be one with India. BTW, in case you don’t know, every Kashmiri muslim isn’t a sepratist. There are many out there who would like a different insight upon that too. As far as I know, from the people I have met, is that they hate two things the most – the army presence (AFSPA) and pak intrusion. Both could be treated with the abrogation. Its only logical.

  6. Vinod Dhall

    We need to consider – The Indian Independence Act of 1947 – The Act’s most important provisions were:-

    *division of British India into the two new and fully sovereign dominions of India and Pakistan, with effect from 15 August 1947;
    *conferral of complete legislative authority upon the respective Constituent Assemblies of the two new countries;
    *termination of British suzerainty over the princely states, with effect from 15 August 1947, and recognised the right of states to remain independent or accede to either dominion.

    A discussion on Art 370 has to recognise this reality.
    Also, The Cabinet of the GoI has collective responsibility for all its decisions and actions. Therefore for an objective discussion of an issue arising can only say “Nehru Cabinet” (?)

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