After a Presidential Order, the Article 370 has been removed from Jammu and Kashmir after which the special status of J&K also has been snatched. It has been more than 2 years now since this has happened. This decision led to many controversies involving PM Narendra Modi and his government as it was accused for a major human rights violation. This decision being one of the most significant points in Indian History, has seen only 2 types of reactions from the citizens. They are either completely for it or completely against it.
Now what was the Article 370 all about? In simpler words, it was a medium through which Kashmir connected to India. This Article gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir a special status which allowed them to keep a separate constitution of theirs and a separate flag of theirs and a separate government of theirs. But the power of the Central Government shall be applicable in only 3 places; External Affairs, Communications and Defense.
Under the Article 370, there was Article 35A which defined the Permanent Residents of Kashmir. It said that no outsider could buy land or property in Kashmir, couldn’t apply for Government jobs there and could not vote there. Now, as a matter of fact, Article of 370 hasn’t been completely removed, whereas it has been only declared null and void by using its own powers. The clause 3 under this Article says that this Article can be only declared null and void through a Presidential Order and after proper consultation from the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.
Now the best part was that there was no State government present in Jammu and Kashmir then, it was under President’s rule. Therefore, according to the law of India, the power of the State Government was supposed to be transferred to the Parliament of India and as per the law, this did happen, the power was transferred to the Parliament. This is how the Article 370 was declared null and void and as a result, Article 35 under it also disintegrated.
Now what did this mean? This meant that now, Jammu and Kashmir came under the Constitution of India. This meant that anyone could now buy land or property in J&K, this meant that Kashmiris no more required a resident certificate, this meant that the Indian National Flag shall prevail there and ultimately J&K residents would have a single citizenship of India. But the biggest question was yet to be asked to the Prime Minister’s Government! Was this right or wrong? Was this a constitutional decision? Would this action worsen situations in Kashmir or improve them?
The people who supported this decision, had a considerable number of good reasons for it, such as:
- The people for this decision believe that this would improve the situations in Kashmir and it is a win — win situation for Indians and Kashmiris.
- There would be economic development as Indians could invest and buy land in Kashmir leading to the rise in land prices in Kashmir.
- Companies could come and invest in Kashmir leading to economic development and industrialization.
- There would be more education opportunities and government jobs leading to a decrease in unemployment.
- As a result of development and industrialization, crime rates will fall and chances of terrorism will also go downwards.
- Kashmiris could now come under the Indian constitution leading to which they would get the privileges of Right to education and information.
- Lastly there would be a psychological impact as being under one flag, one constitution, the Kashmiris will feel more integrated with rest of Indians.
The people who are against this decision, have a very simple argument, viz.:
- Before taking this action, why were the Kashmiris not asked?
- Hundreds of troops were deployed in Kashmir, Internet was cut and so were landlines. It was a clear cut, open and shut case of human rights violation.
- The politicians in Kashmir were put under house arrest and people were locked in their house. And, behind all this chaos, this decision was taken without the Kashmiris even knowing about it.
- Netizens started a peaceful protest saying that this was an illegal and illegitimate occupation and can be compared to Fascism.
- This no less than dictatorship as elections were not re — conducted, President’s rule was forcefully imposed and most importantly a Constitutional amendment was carried out without the knowledge of the citizens. No one paid heed to the democratically elected politicians and its citizens of Kashmir.
- This was termed as unconstitutional and cheating as a loophole was used (absence of state government) to carry out this decision.
- People were lied about the deployment of troops. They were told that the intel they received said that there were chances of a terrorist attack. In simpler words, people were kept in the dark and were misled.
The counter argument was that if the people would have been told about the decision, there would have been riots and that’s the reason troops were deployed. And coming to the discussion of this law, this could not have been done as this was being tried to be done for the past 70 years.
Another decision was taken. J&K was to be divided into J&K and Ladakh, both being Union territories. This is important because first J&K had special status but now it was straight away made into a union territory whose democracy was smaller than a normal state itself. I believe that that what was done, was right but the way it was executed, was very wrong. It may not be a successful decision as all depends on the people of that state now, if they are against it in future, it will not have a bright future. But the fact is that Kashmir will never be integrated with India unless the local Kashmiris want it to happen.