New Delhi, Nov 21: Mission Kashmir- the fight is all set to begin and it probably will be one of the most interesting elections to watch out for. One of the main issues that this election will be fought on is Article 370. The chorus to abolish or not abolish Article 370 has already begun and in this context, we shall put out a ready reckoner on the subject.
In simple terms, Article 370 is the special status that has been granted to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. While you may hear cries by several politicians in the Valley against the withdrawing of this status, the fact of the matter is that this is just a temporary clause.
What is Article 370?
Under Part XXI of the Constitution it is a temporary provision which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This provision came into existence after independence. This was created on a temporary basis where the then ruler of the Jammu and Kashmir signed an instrument of accession with the Union of India.
This provision came into force in the year 1947. At that time Sheikh Abdullah was the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and he was appointed by Maharaja Hari Singh and Jawaharlal Nehru. Abdullah had sought that Article 370 be made permanent as he wanted absolute autonomy at all times. However the centre did not agree to the same.
In broader terms:
The government of Jammu and Kashmir has a separate set of laws under this article. The residents of the state have a different set of laws pertaining to property matters, citizenship and also fundamental rights. The Union Government can control the state only on matters of defense, communication and external affairs. The state government which has a large number of powers under this article however cannot declare a financial emergency. All matters pertaining to the interest of the state will have to be in consultation with the union government.
Why is the repeal sought:
Those opposing Article 370 feel that the primary reasons why the state has been deprived of any sort of development is because of this article. As long as this is in place, no one can purchase property or develop projects in the state.
Persons from outside the state cannot buy land in Jammu and Kashmir. However most importantly it makes Jammu and Kashmir a separate entity from India and this acts as a deterrent in making the residents of the state from feeling completely Indian. The bar on investments in the state has led to unemployment and this has led several youth to take up arms.
Can be repealed anytime:
One must bear in mind that this clause is only temporary in nature. Due to the immense confusion that prevailed in the state post independence, this article was introduced to give the state time to become fully part of India.
When it was introduced, it was clearly stated that this would be temporary in nature and once there was clarity it would be repealed. Under clause of 370 the President of India has the right to repeal it through a public notification. However it is also mandated that the assembly of the state should give its consent.
Why is the National Conference opposing the repeal?
The NC feels that if this provision is repealed then the people of the Valley will lose their identity. They also feel that the people of the Valley have an identity of their own and if repealed they will also lose out on their liberty. However the experts argue that if the people want Jammu and Kashmir to be completely part of India then the repeal of this article is a must to instill a sense of oneness among the people of the state.