New Delhi। BJP government is actively taking a view on the contentious Article 35A which prevents mobility and greater integration with the Union of India.
In its election manifesto, the BJP laid bare its thought process on the sensitive issue. “We reiterate our position since the time of the Jan Sangh to the abrogation of Article 370. We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state.
“We will take all steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents of the state. We will make all efforts to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits and we will provide financial assistance for the resettlement of refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb.”
It is believed that several Kashmir experts familiar with the ongoing drift in the valley have been used as a sounding board on this issue. While the Modi government failed to submit an affidavit stating its position on Article 35A in the Supreme Court, where a bunch of PILs have been pending since August 2014, two successive attorney generals, Mukul Rohatgi and K.K. Venugopal, had sought successive extensions until Governor’s rule was imposed in J&K in June 2018.
What is Article 35A ?
Article 35A is a provision incorporated in the Constitution giving J&K legislature the right to decide who all are ‘permanent residents’ of the State and confer on them special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare. The provision mandates that no act of the legislature coming under it can be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other law of the land.