The J&K Constitution was adopted in 1957, a good eight years after the adoption of Indian Constitution. Now those voices, who are shouting at the top of their voice that the people of J&K have been let down and the promise to them has not been kept will be silenced by the above-mentioned sequence of events. With the scrapping of Art 370 the J&K Constitution has been rendered null and void along with it the discriminatory art 35A.
by Lt Gen PG Kamath (Retd)
With the repealing of Article 370, the accession of the state of J&K has been fully integrated with India. There are voices in the country, especially the Congress and of course the politicians from J&K who are making a hue and cry of breaking the solemn promise given to the state at the time of their accession. Gulam Nabhi says that India has betrayed the trust of people of J&K. Mufti says the decision J&K took to join India, instead of Pakistan was wrong.
Now let us look at the Pakistani side of J&K: One portion has been presently known as Gilgit-Baltistan became a separate administrative unit in 1970 and was called ‘Northern Areas’ (72971 sq. Kms that is 79% of illegally occupied J&K). Shaksgam Valley (5200 sq kms) has been ceded to China as early as in 1963. The third remaining part is what it calls the ‘(un)Azad Kashmir’ (13,297 sq. kms) comprises Muzaffarabad, Mirpur and Bhimber areas accounts for only 13% of the original illegally occupied Kashmir. What has happened to the so-called identity of J&K in Pakistan? Indian Kashmiri leaders should know that, had they joined Pakistan they would have been swamped by people from Punjab, Sindh and would be eaten, masticated and digested decades back and would be languishing like their counterparts on the other side.
Again, it appears that they have done a favour to India by joining India. Not so. J&K was an independent country at the time of independence. Maharaja Hari Singh joined India as Pakistan’s army and irregulars numbering around 20,000 invaded his state and on 24 October night and raped, looted, vandalized, desecrated, burnt and ravaged the entire town of Baramulla. The Maharaja in order to protect his subjects acceded to India. It was Indian Armed Forces that protected the parents of these leaders and gave them safety and security to enable them to procreate and produce offspring so that they can rant against the country that gave them their lineage and identity.
The following chronological events would enable us to make an assessment for of concatenation of circumstances leading to today’s historic enactment. The then Maharaja of J&K signed the instrument of accession on the night of 26 October 1947. The wordings of the accession documents were the same as for the rest of 532 states. It is wrong to say that the proviso of Article 370 was envisaged by the Maharaja at that point of time.
Indian Constituent Assembly was elected in 1946 and the Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949. So, at the time of the accession of J&K, even the Indian Constitution was not enacted; let alone considering the Article 370. It was Sheikh Abdullah with his strong friendship with Nehru prevailed upon him to give special status to J&K as it was the only state with a Muslim majority.
Dr Ambedkar the father of our constitution was not a party for the inclusion of Article 370. He vehemently opposed it and had even walked out at the time it was adopted. As Dr Ambedkar was not in support of the provision, Nehru tasked one of his lackeys, Gopalswami Iyengar to include this provision in the Constitution. Due to the opposition of Sardar Patel, he even left him out of the scene. The provision was also not approved by the CWC in a voice vote. Nehru was intensely partial towards J&K as he originated from the state and had enormous unfounded faith in Sheikh Abdullah. Earlier against the popular support to Patel from all the Pradesh Congress Committees (PCC), Mohandas Gandhi had insisted that Nehru be made the Congress President and then the Prime Minister of India. The last date for the nomination was 29th April 1946. Still not one of the PCCs were supporting Nehru. A dirty trick was played, where one of the CWC delegates sponsored Nehru’s name and Mohandas Gandhi asked Patel to withdraw from the contest.
The principles of democracy were thrown to winds and Patel had to withdraw from the contest. The same ethos continues to this day in the Congress party, where the Senorita chooses leaders from her kitchen and scullery workers; loyalty being the main ingredient and ‘welfare of people’ being the factor not worthy of consideration. However, it was an irony that the Bill was passed by the Congress Party due to the strong intervention of Patel. Nehru was smart enough to leave it to Patel to do the unsavoury work when he had gone on a foreign tour.
Patel was in a quandary as he had difficult relations with Nehru and Mohandas Gandhi had given his full support to Nehru, during his lifetime. Patel had to persuade the Congress to vote for the special provision to J&K, as he did not want the nation to think that he was an impediment to the popularly elected Prime Minister. It was later due to the vision of Dr Ambedkar that he added the clause that the Article 370 was temporary and transitory in nature. It was this clause that has given the leverage to the NDA government to scrap the Article 370 today.
Article 35A, the discriminatory provision was a by-product of Article 370. It was included in the Indian Constitution by a Presidential order in 1954, five years after the adoption of our Constitution. It has been amplified in Part III of the Constitution of J&K, 1956 conferring special rights to permanent citizens of J&K. Just to keep the chronological events in mind, the J&K Constitution was adopted in 1957, a good eight years after the adoption of Indian Constitution. Now those voices, who are shouting at the top of their voice that the people of J&K have been let down and the promise to them has not been kept will be silenced by the above-mentioned sequence of events. With the scrapping of Art 370 the J&K Constitution has been rendered null and void along with it the discriminatory art 35A.
It is unbelievable that opposition parties are not supporting the government. I do not envisage any support from the Congress, which was instrumental in adding the provision. It was calumny of Mountbatten, who manipulated Nehru thorough his wife Edwina. He was the Governor-General during most part of the 1947-48 conflict and prevailed upon Nehru for going to UN on the J&K issue when India was a victor. In the annals of military history, it was the first time a victorious nation had appealed for a ceasefire and complained to the UN, with a third of J&K still under illegal occupation of Pakistan. More of it later in my next article.
Coming back to Article 370, the people of J&K will immensely gain by revoking this article. There will be a free flow of investments. Non-polluting industries like software can be set up and would give a boost to employment. It will also attract foreign investments as no one would like to invest in a place where he cannot own properties. The article was the choke point to progress and development. With its removal, one can see visible progress in the state in the next five years.
Lt Gen PG Kamath (Retd) is an ex-NDA and a product of the DSSC, Army War College, Infantry School and Sainik School, Bijapur. He is a motivational speaker, leadership development specialist and defence analyst. This article has been reproduced from his blog on LinkedIn. He can be reached on Email: email@example.com