Those who care for common man of J&K should not any more use Art-370 for vote bank game plans
Prime Minister of India has invited some political leaders from J&K for an all party meeting on 24th June, Thursday. Dr. Farooq Abdullah (President National Conference-NC) is quoted as having said on Tuesday that all those invited will attend the meeting since the invitation is to individual leaders of various parties, adding that no agenda has been pitched from their (the Centre) side.While “Gupkar Alliance” Vice Chairperson/ PDP President Mehbooba Mufti said peace in the ‘region’ cannot be restored without undoing the act of revocation of the ‘Special Status’ of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. A hand out of J&K NC on 27th May referring to a resolution of the CWC meeting of the party had said Articles 370, 35-A bore great psychological and symbolic significance for the people of J&K which grants differential rights to certain federal sub units, often in recognition to their distinctive identity and historical background. Question here is, which “Special Status” of J&K the “Gupkar Alliance” demands for restoration?Article -370 of Constitution of India is contained in Part- XXI of the Constitution of India (Arts. 370-371) has no any introductory reference in consonance with the claims made in the said hand out and instead 1950 Constitution mentioned it as “Temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir”.Any temporary provision has to one day transform or has to go. NC leadership has been earlier also describing Art-370 of Constitution of India as a provision granting exclusive Special Status to the Indian State of J&K naming Art-370 like a symbol of some special commitments made to the people of ‘Kashmir’ at the time of 1947 accession of J&K with India. But technically that has been and is a myth when neither Art-370 was a special status article nor it were the people of J&K who had to decide for Accession( it was the King who had to decide on accession in 1947 and finally Hari Singh did that on 26th Oct 1947).Much before 5th August 2019 Government of India had cleared the ‘myth’ of ‘special status’ on 11th March 2015 in a written reply to Rajya Sabha Question 138 by Anil Desai MP GOI had through Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary MOS Home Affairs replied “<Q :(a) whether it is a fact that through Article 370, the Constitution gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir? (b) if so, the special concessions/facilities granted to Jammu and Kashmir which are not available to other States? (c) whether it amounts to discrimination among States? and (d) whether Government is thinking of scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and if so, by when the process will be over? Ans : (a): In the Constitution of India, there is no mention of ‘Special Status to Jammu and Kashmir’. Article 370 provides for ‘Temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir’. (b) to (d): The question does not arise in view of the above. >”.But even after 11-03-2015 leader also from parties other than NC/ PDP including even all India parties were/are found saying that J&K had special status / Art-370 gave special status to J&K. Not only that we may find some leaders who say that Art-370 has been abrogated where as it has been amended like any other article can be. So in view of such ‘myths’ being still carried some innocent people in J&K could surely feel dejected after August 2019 taking them as stripped of ‘special status’ (which they otherwise never had). No one from either side should use “Art-370” for vote bank game plans any more.As regards re granting the status of State to UT of J&K is concerned Prime Minister has already said at occasions that it may be granted again at some appropriate time and this demand should not come in the way of participation in DC / other developmental activities. Ofcourse the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 NO. 34 OF 2019 of 09-08-2019 has to be amended by Parliament.But operations of The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) order, 2019 C.O. 272, a Presidential order of 05-08-2019 made in exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 370 of the Constitution, to supersede the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 as amended from time to time } and Presidential Declaration C.O. 273 of 06-08-2019 made under Article 370(3) of the Constitution read with Clause-1 of Art-370 issued with the recommendations of Parliament of India could be possible earlier to 2024 only in case present BJP lead government in centre feared that National Conference may be able to fracture BJP numbers in present Lok Sabha or BJP may not get fair numbers in 2024 Lok Sabha elections with majority people supporting something like Gupkar Declaration; which would be a very very remote possibility.So it will be in the in interest of National Conference and all other political parties to shed myths like J&K having any time Constitutionally a ‘Special Status” and instead associate with the democratic political activities/ related exercises like Delimitation of the single member segments of the Legislative assembly of UT of J&K as per constitutionally laid down parameters only ( no authority outside Parliament can propose or suggest any new criteria and it’s the DC and Associate members who have to deliver the justice ) so that justice is done to the distant and backward people / areas of J&K atleast after 70 years and popular government is installed at the earliest.Yes there is no wrong in case the needed improvements, special supports and good governance that have been evading the people of J&K in the past / are still not there even after 2019 and questions for that are raised on the present government irrespective of the political affiliations.(Daya Sagar, is a senior journalist and analyst of J&K Affairs, can be reached at [email protected])
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