Homeland Security

Article 35A is injurious to entire India
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 05 Aug , 2018

On 6th August, the Supreme Court would be hearing a petition against the sanctity of Article 35A in relation to Jammu and Kashmir. This article is not part of the Constitution. This article was not passed by the Parliament. This article was inserted by a presidential order in 1954. This article is therefore illegal.

Media reports suggest that the decision makers in the government may have decided to postpone the hearing by giving the excuse of pending Panchayat elections in the state. Historically, Kashmir abounds in such excuses and brought the situation to this pass. Meanwhile, the residents of Kashmir Valley hurtled towards self-destruction. Even though the natural environment endowed by nature made it a paradise, the people however invited hell in their courtyards and their lives. In this lush green Valley, Desert Wahabism made such an envelope that Kashmir and Kashmiriyat got somewhere lost.

Article 35A essentially empowers the state government to decide as to who can be a citizen of J&K and who not. As a consequence, 7.5 lacs Hindus, who came from Pakistan during partition and later are not citizens of the state. They can vote for the Lok Sabha, but not for the State Assembly. They are employed in the Army, Central Armed Police Forces like BSF and CRPF, and other central government departments, but are not eligible for jobs in the State. In other words, non-citizens are protecting the State of J&K, but the Pak loyalists in the Valley treat them as enemies of Kashmir and Islam. Also, at least two lack dalit whose forbears were settled in the Valley to clean the dirt, personal and collective, are not citizens the state due to Article 35A, and can only apply for sweepers jobs. What kind of Nizam-e-Mustafa is Kashmir Valley! 

It is rather an indirect consequence of Article 35A that the Rohingyas have been surreptitiously settled in the Jammu region. The places selected for their settlement are those which are critical in support for proxy war by Pakistan. These include military camps, CRPF camps, police camps and areas in the vicinity of International Border (IB). The biggest lie that is being bandied is that there are only 8,000 Rohingyas in Jammu region. The fact is that 8,000 electricity connections that have been provided to Rohingya families. Considering a modest average of six individuals per family, the number of Rohingyas goes upto nearly 50,000. Bangladesh authorities and Abdul Kareem Tunda have confirmed about the role of LeT in radicalization and recruitment of Rohingyas. The Rohingyas played a role in attack by the JeM on Sunjwan military camp in 2018.

In one perspective, it was the megalomania generated by Article 35A that the Hindus were driven out of the Valley with impunity. It was to make the Valley, ‘Hindu Free’ and now the effort is to turn Jammu region into ‘Muslim Majority’, even if it entails settling the Rohingyas. Article 35A is therefore a tool of demographic engineering to suit the proxy war agenda and strategic designs of Pakistan.

It is not that the illegality was lost out on President Rajinder Prasad when he signed on Article 35A in 1954. He was no legal greenhorn. He was a Ph.D. in Law from Allahabad University and had presided over the Constituent Assembly. He did question Nehru, who replied that the matter was confidential, about which he would speak in private, but it was extremely important to insert the Article.

The compulsion was international. The international order was being dominated by Anglo-American combine. The compulsion was also there because of ‘transfer of power’ from Britain to India. Alas! we have chased away the British from India. At least, Subhash Chandra Bose created a ‘chase away’ situation for the British compelling them for ‘transfer of power’. The transfer of power came with a package, which included partition. It also included the British desire to see J&K as part of Jinnah’s Pakistan.

Destiny, however, had different designs. In the fifteen month war between India and Pakistan, the latter could only possess a slice of J&K. Jihadi Pakistan had pinned great hopes on the jihadi tribes of NWFP. The British were even more sanguine. They were more than certain that the jihadi tribal would vanquish the Army of Hindustan. The British Prime Minister Clement Attlee dissuaded Nehru from any designs to attack the bases of the raiders inside Pakistan. He cabled in December 1947: “From our experience here, I think you are very optimistic in concluding that your proposed military action would bring about a speedy solution. On the contrary, all military history goes to show how difficult it is to deal with the tribes of North West Frontier even when one is operating from secure bases.”[1]

Consequent to the war the Ceasefire Line (CFL) came into existence. The CFL was aligned in a manner that Gilgit-Baltistan went to Pakistan. London was desperate for Gilgit-Baltistan. Apart from Pakistan, the happiest country in the world after Pakistan gobbled Gilgit-Baltistan by the Karachi Accord of 1949 was Great (?) Britain. Pakistan was resolute in its objective but the illegality of 35A continues to bleed India.

The Cold War had a crushing impact on J&K. As mentioned earlier, from 1947-1954, a nascent and vulnerable Indian state was circumscribed by the Anglo-American strategic and geopolitical agenda in the Subcontinent. In UN, it was the Anglo-American combine, which called the shots. There was no one to veto in favour of India. The Soviet Union was still undecided about its role in the Indian Subcontinent. The Anglo-American combine considered Pakistan and J&K, especially Gilgit-Baltistan as physical and ideological frontier against Communist expansionism. Even at that time, radical Islam was considered an anti-dot to Communism. Under these pressures emanating from overbearing Anglo-American strategic agenda that India had to introduce the illegal Article 35A. This article was not for the good of Indians, it was not for the good of the people of Jammu and Laddakh, this was part of the Anglo-American strategic project. If that be the case, which it is then why the Supreme Court has not, in the interest of India struck down Article 35A.

In case the Supreme Court feels that the Article 35A is good for the people of India, then it should order the government to get the necessary legislation passed through the Parliament.

India’s compulsions with regard to Article 370 and 35A is quite evident. India got the diplomatic breathing space when the Soviet Union openly came on the side of India on Kashmir issue in 1955. This was impelled by the US-Pak military pact. The Soviet Union began to strategically embrace India. In 1955, Khrushchev and Bulganin visited India and significantly J&K. They unequivocally declared J&K as part of India, a conclusion, that they maintained was based on the wishes of the people. The Soviet strategic embrace infused a new life into a vulnerable India. Consequently, India found a much larger space for a strategic maneuver in the international arena. It was at this time that the leadership in India began to undo the damage caused by Article 370.

MrAvtar Singh Bhasin in his book ‘India and Pakistan: Neighbours at Odds’ writes: “India had meanwhile taken several steps for greater integration of the Jammu and Kashmir State despite Pakistani protests. It gradually eroded Article 370 which had come to be regarded a symbol of Kashmir’s special status in the Union. On 21 August 1962 Nehru told Dogra leader Prem Nath Bajaj:  “As a matter of fact, much has been done inspite of the Article (370) in the Constitution which is supposed to give a special status to Kashmir and gradually what little remains will also go’. On 27 November 1963 referring to those measures Nehru had said in the Lok Sabha that ‘gradual erosion’ of Article 370 was now in progress. Under the new dispensation of Lal Bahadur Shastri Union Home Minister Gulzarilal Nanda said on 4 December 1964 that ‘through this tunnel (i.e. Article 370) a good deal of traffic has already passed, more will now.”

In the end of 1980s, when the Soviet forces were compelled to withdraw from Afghanistan, the world became unipolar, i.e. America dominated. A fresh round of honeymoon started between the Americans and some anti-India elements in the Valley. India’s strategic maneuver space had again shrunk. Now with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, it has been restored. Geopolitically, the US and India are now aligned.

The Supreme Court therefore must go into the compulsions, the pressures, and the threats operating on India since 1947 as far as J&K is concerned. It must salvage India out of the international colonialism perpetuating by powers that be.

Kargil war was linked Kashmir. 26/11 was linked to Kashmir. Most jihadi attacks in hinterland of India are linked to Kashmir. In all these attacks, the jihadi organizations like LeT and JeM, under the patronage had a major role to play. The LeT through its proxies even tried to assassinate Mr. Modi in Patna in 2013. The attack on Parliament was linked to Kashmir. If the parliament could be attacked, the Supreme Court could well be.

There was a bomb blast in Nellore Court in southern part of India in 2016. Base Movement, an affiliate of Al Qaeda owned responsibility. It said that the attack was in retaliation to the killing of BurhanWani. Four Malyaleese recruited by the LeT were killed in Kupwara. They were on their way to Pakistan for advance training. Islamic State flags are both common in Kashmir and Kerala. The maulvis who have radicalized Kashmiri children into Wahabi Islam are from UP and Bihar. Kashmir therefore reverberates all over India.

Article 35A is not about Kashmir, but India.

[1] India and Pakistan Neighbours at Odds by Avtar Singh Bhasin, page 33.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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2 thoughts on “Article 35A is injurious to entire India

  1. Article 35 A was introduced into Constitution in 1954 and should have been made applicable from that date as a result 2.5 lakh Pak Refugees would have become citizens of J&K. But it was made applicable retrospectively effective from 1944 meaning those living in J&K for the last 10 years ie before 1944, were the citizens. Those came to J&K later could not. I am SC will do justice and everyone will honour it.

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