The Bold Voice of J&K

Jammu intelligentsia seeks abrogation of Article 35A, says it disintegrates J&K residents from rest of country

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Glimpses of seminar on Article 35A organised by Jammu Citizens Forum at Amar Singh Club’s auditorium in Jammu on Sunday. Writer and Columnist Daya Sagar Sharma, Senior Advocate B S Slathia, former PSC Member K B Jandial and former HoD, Law Department, University of Jammu Prof K L Bhatia were key speakers.

JAMMU: Firming up their resolve to support every move for scrapping Article 35A of the Constitution, Jammu intelligentsia on Sunday described this proviso as a bane rather than boon that has impeded the spirit of integration of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country.
“Article 35A is not actually part of the Constitution, as it has got incorporated through a Presidential Order in 1954 and worked against the interests of the people of the State, notwithstanding a vicious campaign carried out by Kashmir centric politicians”, the speakers said at a day-long seminar on ‘Article 35A-Boon or Curse for Jammu’, organised by Jammu Citizens Forum, an amalgam of civil society, intellectuals, retired doctors, academicians, advocates and journalists, at Amar Singh Club here.
The speakers were of the view that abrogation of Article 35A is in the interest and welfare of the people of Jammu, as it disintegrates residents of the State from residents of the rest of the country.
“Article 35A encourages alienation, deepens the concept of a separate identity and creates a political gap between the State and the rest of India,” speakers said and sought its abrogation in one voice.
“Article 35A of the Indian Constitution empowers the Jammu and Kashmir Government to define ‘permanent residents’ of the State and allow only State subjects to settle down and buy property in the State, which is unfortunate”, they felt.

Quoting the famous couplet, ‘Eh Jabr Bhi Dekha Hai Taareekh Ki Nazron Ne, Lamhon Ne Khata Ki Thi Sadiyon Ne Sazaa Payee’, academician and former Head of the Department of Law Department, University of Jammu, Prof K.L Bhatia, said, ”I really feel hurt to see the nationalistic people of Jammu not getting their due share because of such laws imposed in the State.” “Article 35A can never be a boon for the State particularly to the people of Jammu and it should be scrapped,” said Prof Bhatia.

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Referring to the warning of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that any attempt of tinkering with Article 35A would lead to a situation wherein nobody will carry Tricolor on the shoulder, Prof Bhatia said that the Kashmir centric politicians have taken it wrong as the Jammu people would go to any extent for preserving the sanctity of National Flag. He said that such remarks reflect mindset of a section of politicians.
Prof Bhatia also lambasted the BJP for remaining in alliance with the PDP to run the government, with such a mindset.
He wondered that the interim and temporary proviso of Article 370 is figuring in the Agenda of Alliance and emphasises that “it will stay”, notwithstanding the fact the BJP was vowing to get it repealed for over six decades.
“It was one of the core issues of the saffron brigade before joining hands with the PDP,” he rued.
Writer Daya Sagar Sharma, dwelt upon Article 35A in detail and said, “Going through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954 C.O 48, one would find that the Art 35A has been mentioned as a “new article” included in the COI on May 14, 1954.”
“It must surprise any considerate mind that why an Article of Constitution of India is not mentioned in the main body of the Constitution! Since this article is not mentioned in the main text of the Constitution even many legal luminaries / practitioners were either not aware of the seriousness / constitutional status of this article or they had at least not given a serious thought over the nature and contents of ‘Art 35A’, said Daya Sagar.

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He said that some legal practitioners did accept this during discussions after we had initiated a study on the existence of Art 35A in 2009.
“It could be argued that this Article was intentionally not mentioned in the main text of Constitution of India and had it been mentioned in the main text surely it would not have remained pointedly unchallenged / not questioned for nearly six decades particularly for its having been included in Constitution of India simply by a Presidential Order and by following the constitutional channels of constituent powers resting in Art-368 of Constitution of India”, said Daya Sagar.
He further said, Over 5,000 families had come from the then West Punjab (West Pakistan) under the pressures of 1947 partition of British India to J and K as refugees. They were allowed to settle here in J and K. It is now nearly 70 years since their coming in J and K but although they are citizens of India, they have not been granted the Permanent Resident of J and K status and are hence are denied their basic fundamental rights in J and K as regards government service, owning immovable property, availing the facilities in government professional colleges, voting in elections to J and K legislature. It is not out of place to mention here that Government of Jammu and Kashmir vide Notification No.578-C 0/5 1954 of May 7, 1954 (State Cabinet’s decision No. 9578-C of 1954), had allowed the lands occupied by West Pakistani Refugees to be possessed and cultivated by them. Even Supreme Court of India had in the case of Bachan Lal Kalgotra vs State of Jammu and Kashmir and Others (Writ Petition No. 7698 of 1982 2 SCC 223 pertaining to 1947 West Pakistan refugees settled in J and K) on February 20, 1987 made observations in this regard with particular reference to Art 35A of Constitution of India, “It is to be noticed here that these provisions are not open to challenge as inconsistent with the rights guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution of India because of “the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954? issued by the President of India under Art. 370(1)(d) of the Constitution by which Art. 35 (A) was added to the Constitution in relation to the State of Jammu & Kashmir, said Daya Sagar.

[mom_video type=”youtube” id=”B5jrssYmcEg”]President Bar Association of Jammu, B.S Slathia in his address also sought scrapping of Article 35-A from the state and said, ”How a law, which does not allow our daughters to be citizens of the State after their marriage outside the State can be acceptable.”
“It has to go”, he said adding that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country and any law or Article, which differ us from the rest of India, should be abrogated.
He criticised the so-called Kashmir centric mainstream leaders for generating euphoria on this sensitive issue for their vested interest.
[mom_video type=”youtube” id=”PAZCw7439L4″]Former Member Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) K B Jandial dwelt upon the subject saying that Article 35A cannot be discussed in isolation, as it has a relation with Article 370.
Jandial sought an intellectual discourse on this sensitive issue, saying the constitutional experts should work in tandem to pave the way for its abrogation.

Jammu Citizens Forum Chairman Raj Daluja presented vote of thanks and appealed to the prominent people of Jammu to come forward and unite to end decades’ long discrimination with the peace loving and nationalistic people of the Jammu region.
He said, “Jammu Citizens Forum is a non-political organisation and it will fight for the cause of Jammu forever.”

[mom_video type=”youtube” id=”Jhl1OeBX-CA”]”We are peace loving people but that does not mean we will continue to tolerate disparity and discrimination at the hands of Kashmir centric leadership,” he asserted.
Retired KAS officer Soujanya Sharma anchored the seminar while Gen Secy Press Club Zorawar Singh delivered welcome speech.
Others present on the occasion were President Jammu Newspapers Editors Guild A K Sawhney, former Minister and MLA Pawan Gupta, former Minister and Dogra Sadar Sabha President Gulchain Singh Charak, Prof Hari Om, IGP (retired) Prem Kumar Gupta, IGP (retired) Gulzar Singh Slathia, former President Press Club of Jammu Manu Srivatsa, Narinder Rohmetra, retired Chief Engineer, Kiran Wattal, retired JMC Commissioner, CEO J and K Volleyball Association Kuldeep Magotra, Rakesh Chouhan, President Arya Samaj Pratindhi Sabha, Rajiv Mahajan, President, Shri Ram Sena, Rajesh Kesri, President, Shiv Sena Hindustan, Col (Retd) V.K Sahi (VrC), Col (Retd) Shiv Choudhary, Raman Samnotra, Secretary Jammu Club, Vijay Saraf, Secretary, Amar Singh Club, Deepak Handa, Er Rajan Gandhi, writer and columnist, Parveen Sharma, Managing Director, SR Colleges, Rajesh Choudhary, President, Rehari Colony Welfare Association, Kamal Gupta, President J and K Private School Association, Prof Jigar Mohd, HoD History Department, Jammu University, Prof Ashok Gupta, Department of Hindi, Jammu University, Ved Gandotra, President, Freedom Fighters Association, Sant Kumar Sharma, besides many lawyers, retired police and civil officers and journalists from print and electron

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