Forget the past, join hands to protect this constitutional right
People from all sections of the society have joined hands in Kashmir to defend Article 35-A of the Indian constitution. The Article empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.
The case is in the Supreme Court as a few NGOs and others have challenged the validity of this Article. People in Kashmir have kept their fingers crossed and are waiting for the judgement of the Apex Court.
As the issue has snowballed into major controversy separatist leaders in Kashmir too have joined the fray and have threatened stir if the Article 35A is fiddled with. One can understand the concern of the mainstream politicians vis-à-vis Article 35-A as they endorse the Indian Constitution. But someone needs to ask the separatists why they are raising hue and cry over the issue which doesn’t fall in their domain?
They (separatists) are the same people who during all these years have espoused the cause of the neighbouring country. They have always maintained that they don’t acknowledge India’s Constitution and have got nothing to do with it. Now why are they raising hue and cry over an issue which is related to the Indian Constitution?
During the past 30-years separatists have been calling for United Nations chalo and idhar chalo and udhar chalo. Now why are they calling for Supreme Court chalo? By threatening stir over the issue they have proved it beyond doubt that they wait for a chance to disrupt the normal life in the Valley. They just want people to stay away from their work and hit the streets so that they (separatists) can call the shots and issue calendars for strikes.
They (separatist leaders) should realize that enough blood has been spilled in the Valley since 1990. But nothing has been achieved till date. There are graveyards in every nook and corner of Kashmir. People, who are calling for strikes and shutdowns, need to bear in mind that they are just befooling people on one or other pretext as nothing can been achieved by restoring to such tactics.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has already moved an application in the Supreme Court to seek the deferment of the hearing on Article 35-A. The mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir have hired top lawyers who can put a strong defence in the Apex court. If the separatists are so keen to defend the Article 35-A, they should take a legal recourse rather than exploiting the sentiments of the people. For them the only recourse is to call for strikes and shutdowns and add to the agonies of a common Kashmiri.
During all these years people of Kashmir have realized that violence begets violence and bullet for bullet is no solution. Unfortunately our state lags far behind other states in the country as the people of J&K have been kept busy by raking up such issues which have no significance in today’s world.
In 2018, separatists are talking about 1947 and they don’t want to move on. They want people to remain busy in history and its connotations. They should stop living in the past and think about the future of the Kashmiri youth.
Kashmiri leaders for the past 30-years have been telling the people that world community is watching the developments in Kashmir and the day is not far when the other countries would come for their rescue. Had Kashmiri leaders been wise they could have sought the intervention of the leaders of their own country and put forward their demands.
The fact is that the international community is least interested in what’s happening in J&K as the people in other parts of the world are busy with their own work.
Whenever Government of India has asked the separatists to come forward for talks they have turned down the offer as they don’t want to annoy the people sitting in the neighbouring country. It’s high time for separatists to give up their rigidity and come up with a solution which can end bloodshed in the Valley. If they keep on waiting for one issue or another then there could be no solution and Kashmir will continue to bleed.
If Supreme Court decides to revoke the Article 35-A there is every possibility about Kashmir witnessing another spell of shutdowns and protests. And it will provide an opportunity to the people who are against peace and prosperity of Kashmir.
The writer is member of Kashmir Youth Alliance