New Delhi (India): Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that Article 35A, which restricts non-permanent residents to buy property in Jammu and Kashmir was surreptitiously inserted by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru into the Constitution.
He alleged that the said article was used to discriminate between citizens living in the state on the basis of declaring some as permanent residents while leaving out the others.
“Article 35A surreptitiously inserted by Pt. Nehru’s government in the Constitution in 1954 vide Presidential order is responsible for discrimination by the J and K government between two categories of citizens on the basis of declaring some as permanent residents while leaving out the others,” tweeted Jaitley.
The Union Miniser also called it a ‘historic blunder’ in his blog.
“The seven-decade history of the State of Jammu and Kashmir confronts changing India with several questions. Was the Nehruvian course, which the State had embarked, a historical blunder or was it the correct course to follow? Most Indians today believe that it is the former. Does our policy today have to be guided by that erroneous vision or an out of box thinking which is in consonance with ground reality?” wrote Jaitley on his blog.
“It discriminates between permanent residents of the State and all other Indian citizens living elsewhere. Lakhs of Indian citizens in J and K vote in Lok Sabha elections but not in Assembly, municipal or Panchayat polls. Their children cannot get government jobs. They cannot own property and their children cannot get admitted to governmental institutions. The same applies to those who live elsewhere in the country. The heirs of ladies marrying outside the State are disinherited from owing or inheriting property,” wrote Jaitley.
He said that the present central dispensation has decided that rule of law must equally apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Why should the rule of law that applies to the rest of the country not apply to the State? Should violence, separatism, mass stone throwing, vicious ideological indoctrination be allowed on the plea that if we check it, it will have a negative effect. It is this misconceived policy that has proved to be counter-productive. Today, the present government has decided that the rule of law in the interest of the people of Kashmir Valley and the larger interest of India, must equally apply to the State of Jammu & Kashmir,” wrote Jaitley.
He said that government crackdown on separatist witnessed insignificant protest and separatist cannot advocate a break away from India and expect India to secure them.
“The Jamaat-e-Islami, in the last several years, has indulged in ideological indoctrination which provided the manpower resource for separatism. It transformed the Valley from the liberal land of ‘Sufism’ to hardcore ‘Wahhabism’.
It has been banned. Hundreds of its activists have been arrested. Its offices have been sealed. Its activities have been significantly curtailed.
The Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which was working over-ground, has also been banned. Several of its people have been arrested. Separatists and Hurriyat leaders, as also several undeserving cases numbering in hundreds, have had their security withdrawn. You cannot advocate a break away from India and expect India to secure you,” wrote Jaitley.
“The NIA has cracked down on terrorist funding. The Income-tax Department has swung into action after seventeen years and discovered several sources of anti-national funding. The CBI is looking into 80,000 gun licences given in recent years. All this has witnessed insignificant protest, no mass stone throwing incidents, reduction in domestic recruitment to terrorist organisation. The past few months have witnessed the neutralisation of the largest number of militants,” he wrote.
He said that Article 35A hurt the people of Jammu and Kashmir and has prevented investment and dismantled the State’s economy.
“The State does not have adequate financial resources. Its ability to raise more has been crippled by Article 35A. No investor is willing to set up an industry, hotel, private educational institutions or private hospitals since he can neither buy land or property nor can his executives do so. Their ward cannot get government jobs or admission to colleges. Today, there are no major national or international chains which have set up hotel in a tourism-centric State. This prevents enrichment, resource generation, and job creation. Students have to travel all over, including Nepal and
Bangladesh, to get college admissions. Engineering colleges and hospitals, including super-speciality facility set up by Central Government in Jammu are lying under-utilized or unutilized since Professors and Doctors from outside are unwilling to go there. Article 35A has prevented investment and dismantled the State’s economy,” wrote Jaitley.
Infrastructure projects, including the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation for both the cities of Jammu & Kashmir, the Ring Road for the two cities, AIIMS in both the regions, an IIT and an IIM in Srinagar and Jammu respectively are projects which have been resolved in the last few months and are progressing further, wrote Jaitley.