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Article 370-Everything You Need to Know

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We usually hear the news where some political parties assert that they will amend article 370. At the same time some politicians from Kashmir, say, ‘no one can repeal the article 370 at any given condition’.

image via kashmirobserver.net
image via kashmirobserver.net

This is a never ending debate which has been running since 1950. Whenever we hear such kind of debate, we just got confused. So the basic question that strikes down our mind is what this article 370 is.

image via firstlinesecurities.com
image via firstlinesecurities.com

Why this has so much of importance and why can’t we repeal it like other constitutional provisions of India? Is this something really so special or we are just making so much of fuss about it. Let’s see the rational side here.

Before understanding the article 370 of the constitution, we need to understand the historical background of Jammu and Kashmir.

image via http://centreright.in/
image via http://centreright.in/

In 1947, when the Englishmen were leaving India, India was full of independents princely states. Usually these princely states were loyal to Englishmen. So when these Englishmen were departing from India, they gave the various Indian princely states the right to choose whether they want to join India or Pakistan or whether they want to remain independent.

image via maxicours.com
image via maxicours.com

This was really a confusing situation for princely states. Why these princely states would like to join India? I mean it will end their freedom after getting merged into India. So in general condition, technically they should have opted to remain independent. And in this situation, it could have divided India into more than 500 nations. 500 nations, literally!!!!!!!

article 370The situation was complicated as it was hard to convince these princely states to get acceded into India and lose their freedom. But Sardar Patel handled the situation very cleverly. He negotiated with these princely states and persuaded them to accede in India and most of states did. Yo!!!

image via royalark.net
image via royalark.net

But then came a really complicated situation to deal with. The Jammu and Kashmir chose to remain independent and it didn’t want to join either India or Pakistan. All efforts put forward by Sardar Patel to accede it into India failed.

Technically Kashmir had a majority of Muslim population. So it was obvious for Pakistan to have a natural interest in Kashmir. The ruler of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh (a Hindu ruler) signed a standstill agreement with Pakistan that it won’t attack on it. India refused to sign any such agreement. But things didn’t go well with the Maharaja of Kashmir and something unexpected happened.

image via panunkashmir.org
image via panunkashmir.org

On 6 October 1947, some Pakistani Muslim tribes, who were well familiar with the atrocity of Maharaja (as he was a Hindu) in Muslim dominated areas, attacked on Jammu and Kashmir, which was followed by the Pakistan approved attack. Now the Maharaja of Kashmir hadn’t left with any option. To save his state Maharaja chose to accede Jammu & Kashmir to India, so that India could help in defending her.

image via jammuredefine.in
image via jammuredefine.in

But here maharaja put forth a condition before India. He didn’t want to completely surrender and also wanted to be the part of India. Finally the Indian government provided privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir which are enjoyed under article 370.

Now what is article 370?

image via indiaopines.com
image via indiaopines.com

According to the Constitution of India, Article 370 provides temporary provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy. It gives the special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It enables the state to have its own constitution, which allows the state to give some special privileges like below-

1-After all being a state, Article 370 gave assembly of Jammu & Kashmir to have complete control over all matters. Indian government only had a wider control over matters like defense and diplomacy.

2-Only a permanent resident of J&K can buy land in the state and citizens from other Indian states face some restrictions. 

3-Fundamental rights and duties, directive principles of the state policy and even the supremacy of the Indian Supreme Court of India didn’t apply to J&K.

4-The state had its own constitution and flag.jammu_kashmir_india_flag_poster-rdee007374d604a24bb1efbb58d182825_ith_8byvr_512 5-Duration of J&K Assembly is six years while others assemblies have tenure of five years.

The article 370 was enacted with much displeasure to India’s founding fathers like Sardar Patel and Babsaheb Ambedkar.

Article 370 of J&K was drafted by Gopalaswami Ayyangar.

Why so much debate about article 370?

image via presstv.ir
image via presstv.ir

Many politicians blame that article 370 is misused by the government of Jammu and Kashmir. Many consider this article as a reminder that Kashmir is not a part of India and never will be. This article is also considered the hindrance in the actual growth of state which leads to unemployment. Yeah, and unemployment often force youths to join hands with anti-nationalist activities for money, that’s why too many of anti-national forcers are active in Kashmir as local youths are supporting them. This costs a lot to our defense forces.

image via e-pao.org
image via e-pao.org

Most absurdly, the right to education does not apply to Jammu and Kashmir, so after all its being guaranteed by Indian constitution, a Kashmiri won’t have the guaranteed right to get education. And in most of cases underprivileged children don’t get the education. The state also does not have to submit records of inflow and outflow of money so India government can’t check the widespread corruption prevalent in state. It is also blamed that due to this article a Kashmiri does not enjoy the rights of a normal citizen of the country.

Abrogation of Article 370-

image via indianexpress.com
image via indianexpress.com

Now let’s consider about the abrogation of article 370. What are the constitutional provisions to abrogate it?

Article 370 can be revoked only if a new Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir is convened and is willing to recommend its revocation, which seems almost impossible and a constituent assembly was never elected after 1951. So in other word it is such a daunting task to abrogate article 370.

Was it a strategic mistake by our founding fathers?

image via reddif
image via reddif

Some may agree and some also may disagree. It depends upon our perception.

So what is the way forward?

image via pintrest
image via pintrest

Government of J&K and people should come up with some innovative solution. It is also up to us that how we view this current issue and what approach we put forward to find a solution. Somehow responsibility lay on the shoulder of every Indian to find a conclusive solution for this situation with patience, rationality and diplomacy. Any illogical action will lead to disastrous consequences for both India and Kashmir.

(All images are taken for only representational purposes.)