Hitherto the abrogation of Articles 35A and 370, it was the non-Muslim minorities in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir who were getting a step-motherly treatment. But now with the abrogation in place, there is no barrier for Kashmir, writes Surinder Koul in the magazine Spade a Spade. The following article is an exact reproduction of the same.
Bengaluru: Article 370 and 35A was prejudicial in nature. It was damaging the non-Muslim minorities in state of Jammu and Kashmir for last seven decades under various political dispensation. Though, all ruling political dispensation were claiming to be secular, democrats and liberals, yet they practiced communal card in favour of Sunni Muslims of the valley making Indian Govt. handicap and helpless with such constitutional provisions of Article 370 and 35A.
Beyond doubt deprivation was caused to the people of the state hitting hard the refugees from Pakistan, in 1947 partition and settled in Jammu region of the state. Till date they were not given citizenship rights in the state. which resulted into their illegibility for state and central services, though being qualified youth. They could vote for parliamentary election but not for state Assembly or for Panchayat board. Bank loans for business purposes or for higher educational studies or any scholarship from any Govt were denied to them. Their only curse was that they were Hindus. Valley based obscurantist made an issue out of it, that granting of citizenship right would alter the demo graphical ratio of the state against Muslim majority character. These refugees in the state are living impoverished life along the border lines in acute pecuniary conditions. Their hutment enclaves are within the firing range of the enemy guns from across. State run medical dispensaries benefits for their ailing and infirm members were not permissible to them. Loans for building of livable shelters for their families or own any piece of land for their cultivation or breeding of their livestock are denied to them.
Gorkha section of people in Jammu
During pre-1947, Dogra regime in the erstwhile state of Jammu Kashmir Ladakh va Gilget, the successive Maharajas inducted Gorkha soldiers in their army for defending the territory of the state from invasion and intrusion by hostile tribe or bandits along the Western border. Gorkhas are known for their valour and fighting capacity in conventional warfare. So the enrolment of Gorkha consecrates was priority for defending the remotest corners of the territory annexed by Dogra kings from time to time. Gorkhs with passage of time gradually settled in Jammu region and their progeny grew up with the people of the Jammu region. After 1947 independence of India, the paramountcy of kingship came to an end. Democracy was established in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Late Shiekh Mohd Abdulha was elected as Prime Minister of the state. Despite their past services and sacrifices towards the maintenance of territorial integrity of the state; they were bereft of citizenship right In the state. Their delegation went from post to pillar to various state and central political leaders for granting of citizenship right, but it was all in vain. The future of their children got sealed for no further progress and development in their lives as free citizens of democratic India.
In 1957-58, sweeper employees in Jammu Municipality went on strike for unlimited weeks. The whole city area was converted into dumping ground of filth, dirt and stinking furnace. late Bakshi Ghulam Mohd, the then PM of state hired the services of Balmiki from Punjab state for cleaning the city area of Jammu. They were promised of all living facilities, employment including housing in Jammu. A flock Valmikis class of people from Punjab a nearby state, volunteered to shift lock stock and barrel to Jammu to take jobs in Jammu Municipality, the summer capital of the state. Bakshi Ghulam Mohd was known for his freebies and promises which impressed these Valmikis to migrate from Punjab to Jammu. This class of people are socially backward, economically weak and politically unrepresented. They too are the victims of this dragon article 370 and 35A till date. Their qualified children had to continue with their patriarchal inherited profession of sweepers, scavenge ring for generations as their citizenship rights are forbidden. Getting a state or central jobs for them is exactly asking for a moon.
Numerically, all these categories, which are deprived of citizenship rights do not comprise large in numbers that would tilt the demographic ratio of predominantly Muslim majority character of the state. It was an outcry created by the valley based political sections affiliated with Ahali E Hadis Jamiat / Jamiat E Islami elements for their nefarious and communal design. Pro Pakistani leader like S.A.S.Gillani, three times elected Member of Jammu and Kashmir Legislature Assembly, from Sopore constituency, of Baramullah District was staunch opponent to their citizenship right.
Intensity of discrimination against non-Muslim population of the state was enormous and wide in nature, sheltered by Article 370 and 35A. It gave sweeping power, authority to manage, manipulate and impose Kashmir Centric policies which were beneficial to Sunni sect of Muslims, within the state.Late Bakshi Ghulam Mohd was the PM who dethroned Late Shiekh Mohd Abdullah, most popular leader in 1953. In 1956 onward the valley based Muslim political class conspired a subtle plan to maximize number of Muslims in state services. Devised scheme was called 70:30. It was a signal perforated within the higher echelon of the political class, that 70% were to be taken from Muslim majority population and 30% from non Muslim populace. With this policy, merit was ignored totally and majority community were preferred in all state affairs, including selection in professional colleges, promotion, appointment and educational scholarship and nomination in professional colleges and Universities outside the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Consequently, first Regional Engineering, Medical college, Polytechnic college, Ayurvedic and Yunani college were raised in Srinagar of Kashmir region, when other two regions of Ladakh and Jammu regions ought to have considerable importance. And in similar style, Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Science on the Pattern of AIIMS of Delhi was first established in Kashmir valley at Soura. This is evident that Kashmir based political class grabbed all the developmental and educational projects for the valley to be ahead of other people of the regions in Jammu and Kashmir.
Land to Tiller act under Agrarian reform was enacted in Jammu and Kashmir in early fifties when Late Shiekh Mohd Abdullah was the PM of the state. Under this law, the cultivable land was transferred to the tillers of the land without any compensation to the land owners of the state. In other parts of India, land to tenant was enforced but the land owners were given due compensation by the ruling government. In Kashmir state it was all contrary to that. land owners were reduced to paupers and acute hard times. They could not file any case in state high Court or in Supreme Court as Article 370A debarred Land owners to challenge the Agrarian Reform act under Fundamental rights. This particular class in the state was economically shattered. Its implementation was successful in the state because the composition of this act was communal in context. Non Muslims, constituted minority section in the state had no voice and leadership were the targeted sector of the ruling party. So their existential of minority right were not of any matter. No bar council of India or any human right activists or any liberal democrats from any soil of India ever advocated for their cause on humanitarian grounds. Since then this s minority section of the state were on receiving end at the hands of brute Muslim majoritarian.
In mid sixties, late Ghulam Mohd Sadiq the then Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir of leftist schooling of thoughts too had tar of communal bent of mind to run admonition in the state. In set pattern, Sadiq came up with defilled order for educational institution, where by junior Muslim teacher could be promoted as Headmaster of a school over and above to his senior experienced non Muslim teacher. Grounds given for the tainted order was that Muslims were backward and less educated need out of way approach. Most of the junior teachers took over as headmasters in schools and Kashmir Pandit teachers were set aside. They were made to work under their junior colleagues. It was highly injustices and cruel order for the targeted class of Non Muslim teachers in the state . One late Triloki Nath Tickoo, from Sopore town rose up and fought the case in Supreme court of India to reverse the order. The Chief Justice of India Late Justice Hidayatullah came out with a decree that if 95% of population were backward and underdeveloped, how can 5% population were forward? If, whole state was backward and requires all round development and progress". And the order released by the then state Govt. was nullified. It took years in state to implement supreme court verdict on the ground as its jurisdiction in the state was hindered by special status of the State. Non Muslim teachers were made to wait for years to get the promotions. Later they were posted in far flung areas at the fag ends of their lives .
Minority Commission,- Under Indian constitution, the protection of the fundamental rights of religious minorities within the countries are to be protected and safeguarded. So all states are directed to constitute a minority commission within the state to ensure minority rights of these sections of the population. State of Jammu and Kashmir is the only state where there is no minority commission for last seven decades. The state has minority independent religious denomination in all three provinces. Buddhists and Shias in Ladakh region, Sikhs, Christians, Kashmiri Pandits, Shias in Kashmir Valley and Hindus, Christians in Jammu region but there is no forum for the redress of the grievances of these minorities within the state government. Majority community of state Sunni Muslims claim Minority character while clubbing themselves with rest of Muslims of India and avail of all those benefits earmarked for minorities. Under art 370 and 35A they are privileged to play hide and seek.
Central law whether of welfare measure or of national security concern can't be extended to the state under special status. That central law needs further ratification by state constitutional assembly, since, that constitutional assembly was dissolved in 1956, so the state assembly of the time has to pass that central law to become law within the state.
For instances, concurrent list of Indian constitution gives special reservation for ST/SC/Backward class in legislature, judiciary appointments, jobs, promotion but this welfare and developmental steps cannot be enforced in the state because of the article under discussion. The state has Gujjar / Bakerwals and backward tribes, which were not properly given their due representation in the state assembly and in jobs. They remain unrepresented and economically underdeveloped subjects of the state.
Gender discrimination-- The article 370 and 35A were entrenched with gender discrimination. Though the article is temporary in Indian constitution but this gender discrimination was going on for decades in the state. A woman marry a boy outside the state boy, she would lose all her rights of the state including property rights. On the contrary, if a man marries outside girl, none of the couple would lose any right. She became a state subject who could own property and contest election. So it was undemocratic, illegal and prejudicial article to its own people .
Special status given to state was keeping the state distinct of other states of India in federal character. Compared to other states of India, the state of jammu and Kashmir was getting higher percentage of central aid and loan during all these years for the development of the whole state. Unfortunately, maximum funds and pivotal ministerial berths were rested with the valley based politician with the emphasizes in the valley. Other regions were not given their appropriate share of allocation for development. State jobs and appointments were monopolized by the valley based Muslim populace leaving very less opportunities for other region people to thrive and be on vintage administrative positions.
Integration of the state with rest of Indian states was imperfect. J&K has its own flag and constitution so the country can't have two flag and two constitutions. Jurisdiction of the Supreme court Of India, judgement to the state was subject to review by the state cabinet's endorsement. People of the state could purchase property and own business in rest of states of the country, but Indians from other states are not permitted to purchase or own business in Jammu and Kashmir.
During last seven decades, the political supremacy of Sunni Muslims have grown high. Plans for carving out greater Kashmir region with other Muslim enclaves on periphery of Jammu region are simmering. Opening and construction of Mughal road via Jammu- Poonch to Shopian Kashmir is setting trend for Greater Kashmir. New physical names like, Chenab valley, Pir Panchal valley are being coined contrary to its geographical contours. Mughal Road niched out accessibility to Muslims of the valley with Muslims of Jammu bordering districts into an exclusive locations for greater Kashmir.
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