35A: A Blatant Discrimination and Abuse of Human Rights
   06-Aug-2019
All kinds of anti-national, and anti-social discriminations must go, as Bharat is marching towards establishing a Naya Bharat, where all are equal… a kind of Ramrajya
- Madan Diwan

 
 
In the 21st century, racial discrimination must not occur. In developed countries, such practices are abhorred. United Nations convention also binds members to provide its citizens with fundamental freedom in political, economic, social, cultural and other fields, in public life. Bharat’s constitution too grants all fundamental freedom to its citizens, but strangely in the case of Jammu & Kashmir, its stand on fundamental rights is bewilderingly different.
 
What began purely as a temporary provision through Article 370 was sought to be augmented by article 35A, which is completely illegal. Be it secular fabric, gender discrimination, racial discrimination, or abuse of human rights, all was sought to be legalised by Nehru government. Cabinet advised the then President and issued an amendment to Constitution of India. A glaring legal blunder still swept under the carpet. And the protagonists are those, who protest at the drop of a hat - the award ‘wapsi gangs,’ their NGO lobby and the so-called liberals. All those who speak of freedom, are silent on all important issues.
 
Gender discrimination on women’s rights
 
Only Kashmiri men who marry women from any part of the world, can bring home their wives. These women are also entitled to the permanent resident certificate (PRC) with attendant ‘privileges.’ Children born to these couples also get PRC rights in J&K without any hassle and can enroll in any school, college or professional studies funded by the state government.
 
However, women belonging to the State of Jammu & Kashmir who marry outsiders cannot settle down in the State even if they are only child of parents and are employed in the State before marriage. A man from another state marrying J&K a woman cannot get a PRC. Her husband cannot buy house or land, cannot apply for a government job, and children cannot study in state-run educational institutions. Essentially, when a woman marries outside the State, she is virtually forced to leave the State and settle elsewhere since her children will never have the right to property, and free education. Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or women of any faith are victims of this law. Sara Abdullah and Sunanda Pushkar are celebrities who have been at the receiving end of gender discrimination in Jammu & Kashmir Ladakh region. And yet Kashmiri lobby is silent. Politicians of all hues and colours in Jammu Kashmir Ladakh do not want women to marry outside the States and on occasions have attempted to bring a law to subvert jurisdiction of the Courts to decide on their rights. And all this happens under cover of Article 35A. So much for gender justice to Bharatiya Nari.
 
Injustice to children of Partition – Pakistani Refugees
 
Most unfortunate decision in modern world was partition of Bharat. So called oldest democracy in the world passed laws and partitioned our country. For last 72 years, people who migrated from West Pakistan to Jammu Kashmir Ladakh, during Partition in 1947, have been living as second class citizens of Bharat. None has taken to terrorism. Even after seven decades, they are identified as ‘refugees’ and are forced to live in ‘camps’. Their third generation is denied all rights and tagged as ‘refugees’ who otherwise may have been entitled in any other state of our country. All those who settled outside Jammu Kashmir Ladakh are enjoying full fruits of the sacrifice they made during Partition and wounds of riots are at least healed since they are integrated with motherland. So much for democracy, that they were not even allotted land to build homes by local legislature. Lands they occupy can never be theirs. These families are from most deprived sections and mostly belong to Scheduled Castes. Without PRC status, they have no property, no jobs, and have to live as second class citizens. And worst of all, they are not even eligible to cast their vote in any elections.
 
Valmikis
 
PM Modi washed the feet of Valmikis whose role in Kumbhmela was beyond praise. Fate of these walmiki families needs urgent intervention from our nation. In 1957, following a cabinet decision, around 200 Valmiki families were brought from Punjab to Jammu-Kashmir Ladakh, to be employed as safai karamcharis (sweepers). These families agreed to work in the State after being promised that the ‘permanent resident’ clause would be relaxed in their favour. However, without granting PRC, rules were framed to allow walmikis to work as safai karmachari. They cannot join professional education institutions run by state. Even if they are graduates they have to work as safai karmacharis since they are not eligible for any other government jobs. They can vote for Lok Sabha but cannot vote for local village panchayats and other self-governing bodies up to the district level as well as State Assembly elections. Are we not guilty of practising worst form of slavery in modern world? And why are all voices in the opposition silent? They can go to the well of house and insist that PM Modi immediately end this discrimination.
 
Gorkhas of J&K
 
Gorkhas were settled in Jammu-Kashmir Ladakh in the 18th century and fought for the State in the ranks of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, under commander-in-chief Gulab Singh, a landlord of Jammu. They have resided in Jammu-Kashmir Ladakh for over hundred years, before Independence. Gorkhas have made supreme sacrifices to maintain the integrity of India and the safety of JKL. It is almost impossible to get PRC in J&K. Young and educated Gorkha boys and girls cannot get a government job or admission into educational institutes. This forces them to remain economically, socially and educationally backward.
Year after year, when the entire world is a maturing civilization, we cannot even support our bothers and sisters who suffer day in and day out in Jammu Kashmir Ladakh region. Saudis have allowed women to drive car and are relaxing a lot of rules regarding their women. Globally women have changed contours of policy making and lead from front in all spheres of life. So called beholders of democracy and women’s rights are silent on illegally legalized racial discrimination. NDA Government under Narendra Modi 2.0 has actually stumped Supreme Court by stating to take a decision on legal and constitutional validity of 35A. At stake are Bharatiyatas and the values we as a nation cherish. It is about the Constitution of India i.e. Bharat that we all must respect. It is about democratic principles that we preach to the rest world. And surprisingly there is silence on the part of all political families. Astonishingly, all those Lawyer groups, who keep moving SC every now and then, feign ignorance on Article 35A, and don’t question its patent illegality. Human Rights organisations are completely partial on this issue. It has been a fight, a pariwar and its volunteers have been fighting, for nearly 100 years to uphold Bharatiya Sanskriti.
 
Dr Shmaya Prasad Mukherjee laid down his life to uphold the Constitutional rights in the region. Even then Article 35A was added to the Constitution by throwing all established parameter and mechanisms to wind. How can our nation allow such illegal amendments to continue forever? Which has created inequality among equals. BJP and its NDA allies have succeeded in protecting our sisters from Triple talaq. Now nation expects PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to abolish racial discrimination, which sure they don’t practise.
 
(The writer is a Social Economist)