Sangh Parivar has always been discomforted by JK's so called special status, the status that has got eroded by one constitutional onslaught after another, to the extent where even the semblance of special status is hardly noticeable.
Article 35A is the latest target. The article reserves the right of employment and owning immovable property in JK State exclusively to residents.
Jammu Kashmir Study Centre (JKSC) close to RSS claims that Article 35A was incorporated in the Indian Constitution through a Presidential Order on May 14, 1954, bypassing the Parliament. Hence the decision to approach Supreme Court by 'We the Citizens' is geared to have article 35A scrapped. The plea would be heard on August, the 17th.
As per clause (1) of article 370 implanting Indian constitutional provisions in JK entail State Government recommendation to 'President of India' endorsed by two third majority vote of the legislature.
The President Order that follows does not need channelizing it in parliament, as made out in 'We the Citizens' plea. It is precisely for the same reason that India's first Premier–Pandit Nehru and his Home Minister—Gulzari Lal Nanda in 1963/4 called 370 a tunnel through which much traffic has passed and more will, as it did not entail parliamentary endorsement. For some subjects like Defence, Foreign Affairs and communications in the central list, parliament exercises control.
For the rest 'Presidential Order' fits the bill, as in the case of imposition of article 35A. Call it fate or whatever you may, double speak is getting trapped in the web of its own making. You simply cannot have the cake, and eat it too!
Targeting article 35A is the part of a larger game by Sangh Parivar to change the demographic profile of JK state by forcing the pace of constitutional intrusions. It has had several other facets, besides the constitutional onslaught. Jammu mass killing in 1947 was one of the first attempts to affect the demographic profile.
The process of squeezing communities in recent days has led to asking Jammu Gujjar community to leave forest habitations, pleading environmental concern. Conveniently forgotten remains the fact of much of Jammu city being basically forest land. Conversely, promoting pilgrim tourism does not invoke environmental concern.
The developmental graph of hilly Pir Panchal and Chenab Basin remaining markedly lower than plain Jammu districts is another anomaly. We may return to trace constitutional onslaught.
Sangh Parivar in its Jammu 'Praja Parishad' outfit coined the slogan—Ek Pradhan, Ek Vidhan, Ek Nishan. The slogan led to arrest of JK's first Prime Minister—Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on August, the 9th 1953, as he was another 'Pradhan' with Prime Minister Nehru holding reins of power in Delhi. Abdullah had placated Delhi by endorsing accession. In 1952, he ceded financial control in the so called, 'Delhi agreement'. Bringing in JK within the judicial ambit of Supreme Court was left to a future date, as Abdullah was not comfortable with 'Fundamental Rights' clauses. He wanted space to deal with his opponents within JK, without conceding rights. Delhi acquiesced, as resistance to status-quo had started building. Sheikh Abdullah however was not considered amenable enough to permit his demotion in status, substance though did not matter, and 'Delhi Agreement' is a proof, if one is needed.
'Ek Pradhan' was affected within more or less a decade, as GM Sadiq accepted demotion by piloting the 6th amendment in 1965. GM Sadiq became Chief Minister, head of state—Sadr-e-Riyasat became Governor, as in any other state of 'Indian Union'. This happened in spite of the fact that JK continued to have a disputed status internationally. India and Pakistan had agreed to hold universal declaration of 'Self Determination' supreme in settling the dispute, the vehicle being plebiscite as per 'UN Security Council' resolutions pertaining to JK. 'Ek Vidhan' however could not be affected. Nevertheless the process of gradual erosion was put in practice. By 1963/64 Nehru and Nanda were calling 'Article 370' an empty shell that has been eroded in a continued process. Sadiq attested the take by affecting 6th amendment.
Sixth amendment affected imposition of articles 356/7. 356 cleared the way for presidential takeover of the state in the event of an internal emergency or external aggression, the power previously exercised by Sadr-e-Riyasat. 357 is for operationilizing 356. The tale continued as JK was brought under financial and judicial ambit of India. 370 has been tunnelized enough, lest scrapping it lock, stock and barrel poses challenges, Article 35A is being targeted. Targeting it pre-dated BJP's 2014 Delhi takeover–result of polarizing the electorate.
Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley's write-ups and public appearances in pre-ministerial avatar labelled Article 35A an infringement of rights of Indian citizens. Infringements, as per Jaitley's take is expressive of inability of Indian citizens to acquire immovable property in JK, and remain armed with right of employment. Given the mind-set, it is no surprise that Article 35A is up for hearing by Supreme Court. Jaitley is one of the pivots of BJP Delhi rule. His repeated stress on infringement of Indian rights has evoked a chain reaction, where some Parivar formations feel free enough to gear-up for yet another constitutional onslaught. This is in spite of PDP/BJP common minimum programme for the coalition, wherein stress remained on maintaining constitutional status-quo, and work instead on development.
PDP cannot afford to take a position that may imperil the dominant sentiment of overwhelming majority. PDP would have to watch its step, in spite of coalition factor. Lately Nirmal Singh has held no punches in stressing that BJP holds on to its stated position on article 370. That sounds ominous. PDP cannot escape taking-up the call, NC has already set alarm bells ringing in an effort to trap PDP. Resistance formations would react, expectedly at a time of their own choosing.
Questions galore, answers are awaited?
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]