Wahid bhat | Jammu Kashmir
After winning Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, National Conference senior leader Mohammad Akbar Lone is looking forward to defend Article 370 and take steps to find a resolution to the Kashmir issue. Talking to Groundreport.in, Lone said PM Modi can solve Kashmir issue.
Akbar Lone said, “Removal of Article 370 and bringing Jammu and Kashmir on par with other states is the only viable solution to the issue, and Jammu and Kashmir will be independent country.
Lone added BJP will not be able to touch article 370 and 35A. He said if they want to separate Kashmir from India, only then Article 370 abrogation can happen otherwise not. Akbar Lone further said “NC biggest priority will be to safeguard Articles 370 and 35A and our leaders will priority it. Our party will also strive for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
Lone furthers added that Modi is strong PM of India and he will solve Kashmir issue by talks and NC will also try its best to start dialogues between India and Pakistan to solve all the issues”.
Lone added “If BJP free Jammu and Kashmir from Article 370, you will free the state from country as well”. “I have said many times that Article 370 links Jammu and Kashmir with the country. When you break this bridge, India loses its legitimacy over the state. It becomes an occupational force.”
What is Article 370?
Article 370 of the Indian constitution is an article that gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The article is drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution: Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions.
The Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, after its establishment, was empowered to recommend the articles of the Indian constitution that should be applied to the state or to abrogate the Article 370 altogether.
After the J&K Constituent Assembly later created the state’s constitution and dissolved itself without recommending the abrogation of Article 370, the article was deemed to have become a permanent feature of the Indian Constitution.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir’s original accession, like all other princely states, was on three matters: defence, foreign affairs and communications. All the princely states were invited to send representatives to India’s Constituent Assembly, which was formulating a constitution for the whole of India.
They were also encouraged to set up constituent assemblies for their own states. Most states were unable to set up assemblies in time, but a few states did, in particular Saurashtra Union, Travancore-Cochin and Mysore. Even though the States Department developed a model constitution for the states, in May 1949, the rulers and chief ministers of all the states met and agreed that separate constitutions for the states were not necessary.
They accepted the Constitution of India as their own constitution. The states that did elect constituent assemblies suggested a few amendments which were accepted. The position of all the states (or unions of states) thus became equivalent to that of regular Indian provinces. In particular, this meant that the subjects available for legislation by the central and state governments was uniform across India.
In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the representatives to the Constituent Assembly requested that only those provisions of the Indian Constitution that corresponded to the original Instrument of Accession should be applied to the State.
Accordingly, the Article 370 was incorporated into the Indian Constitution, which stipulated that the other articles of the Constitution that gave powers to the Central Government would be applied to Jammu and Kashmir only with the concurrence of the State’s constituent assembly.
This was a “temporary provision” in that its applicability was intended to last till the formulation and adoption of the State’s constitution. However, the State’s constituent assembly dissolved itself on 25 January 1957 without recommending either abrogation or amendment of the Article 370. Thus the Article has become a permanent feature of the Indian constitution, as confirmed by various rulings of the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, the latest of which was in April 2018.
What is article 35A?
Article 35A of the Indian Constitution is the only provision in the national Constitution relating to Kashmir other than Article 370. It accords special rights to domiciles of the state on ownership of land and reservation in government jobs. Proscriptions on the sale of local land to outsiders are an integral part of most special constitutional and legislative provisions applicable across multiple states in India.
However, in most states, these have largely remained unimplemented. For instance, in the districts of Khammam, Warangal and Adilabad in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, the percentage of land controlled by non-tribals was as high as 52.79%, 71.64% and 60.69%, respectively, as far back as 1996. Jammu and Kashmir is a clear exception to this trend.
So, while some strands of the current debate on Kashmir—such as the repeal of Article 370—are largely symbolic, as the Act has already been stripped of its substantive content, others like the demands related to Article 35A reflect substantive interests at play in mainland India and Kashmir.