Wahid Bhat| SRINAGAR
As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its Sankalp Patra on Monday at their headquarter in New Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while briefing the media and the audience about the poll manifesto at the event, reiterated the party’s stand on abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution of India.
The 45-page manifesto was released by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah and other senior party leaders and functionaries.
“We reiterate our position since the time of the Jan Sangh to the abrogation of Article 370. We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh said.
Article 370 grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir while Article 35A, incorporated into the Constitution in 1954, provides special rights and privileges to the citizens of the state.
BJP also said that the party will make efforts to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to the state.
“Our security doctrine will be guided by our national security interest only. This is exemplified by the surgical strikes and the air strikes carried out recently. We will reply continue our policy of ‘zero tolerance’ against terrorism and extremism and will continue to follow our policy of giving a free hand to our security forces in combating terrorism,” the party said in the manifesto, titled ‘Sankalp Patra’.
The BJP government has also promised to strengthen the armed forces by speeding up the purchases of outstanding defense-related equipment and weapons.
“We will provide assistance to the states to upgrade their police forces through the ‘Scheme for Modernisation of Police Forces’. We will encourage expedited police reforms in the states so as to enable the State police forces to deal with new types of crimes like cybercrime and help them to be more sensitive to the citizens, especially the weak and vulnerable sections of the society,” the manifesto read.
The BJP’s manifesto reiterated its commitment towards bringing the Citizenship Amendment Bill “ and said that Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs escaping persecution from India’s neighbouring countries will be given citizenship in India.
The party also reiterated its position on the abrogation of Article 370 and revoking of Article 35A of the Constitution of India. Article 370 of the Constitution gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir while Article 35A empowers the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to define the state’s permanent residents and their privileges.
“We reiterate our position since the time of the Jan Sangh to the abrogation of Article 370. We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Aicle 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state. We will take all steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents of the state. We will make all eos to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits and we will provide nancial assistance for the reselement of refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan administrated Jammu and Kashmir (PaJK) and Chhamb,” the party said in its manifesto.
What is Article 370?
1. According to the Constitution of India, Article 370 provides permanent provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy.
2. The article says that the provisions of Article 238, which was omitted from the Constitution in 1956 when Indian states were reorganised, shall not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
3. Article 370 is drafted in Amendment of the Constitution section, in Part XXI, under Temporary and Transitional Provisions.
4. Under Article 370 the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.
What is Article 35A?
1. Jammu and Kashmir’s permanent residents enjoy special rights under article 35A.
2. Only the permanent residents have the right to own immovable property, settle permanently, or avail state-sponsored scholarship schemes.
3. This article also restricts companies from hiring non-resident persons in the state and denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state.
4. Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by the orders of the then president Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.
5. Since Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution was issued under Presidential Order, the President can make certain ‘exceptions and modifications’ to the Constitution for the benefit of ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
6. Hence, Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, while Article 35A ensures special rights to the permanent residents of Kashmir.