Senior CPI(M) leader and former legislator Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Sunday said that the Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in the Lok Sabha on Friday and Ram Madhav’s recent statement that Article 370, which extends special status to J&K, was “temporary” and not permanent in nature is unfounded, an attempt to distort facts and history.
In a statement, Tarigami said that Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India under the guarantees provided by the Constitution of India.
“It is the constituent assembly which incorporated Article 370 in the Constitution providing a constitutional basis for the relationship of J&K with the Union. Article 370 was the only article of the Constitution of India which directly applies to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is not a temporary provision but part of the basic features and structure of the Constitution,” said Tarigami.
“Jammu and Kashmir was the only state to declare its intention to have its own constitution drafted by its own constituent assembly, as far back as March 5, 1948. At the time of partition and after, it was free to accede to Pakistan or India, or to become an Independent country,” he said.
“But it decided to accede to India on specific terms, despite being a Muslim majority state. This unique circumstance was a matter of prime consideration for evolving constitutional machinery to prescribe the relationship of the state with the Union,” he added.
“It is well documented and recorded that Jammu & Kashmir state now stands acceded to the Indian Union in respect of 3 subjects namely Foreign affairs, Defence and Communication. It will be for the constituent assembly of the state when convened, to determine in respect of which other subjects the state may accede. Article 370 embodies this basic principle of the solemn compact pact. It is the machinery to integrate the people of Kashmir with India with heart and soul and to stop their alienation,” said the spokesman.
“The challenge against the continuance of Article 370 has been rejected by the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court. The constitution bench was of the opinion that the provisions of Article 370 continue in force and remain effective even after the Constituent Assembly of the State had passed the Constitution of the State as it has not decided to make Article 370 inoperative or to cease to exist,” he said.
“Article 370 could be abrogated or amended only upon the recommendation of the State’s Constituent Assembly, which was dispersed in November 1956, after adopting a Constitution for the State. It is our unalterable opinion that Article 370 of the Constitution should act as a bridge between the Union and the state and the provisions which have been eroded from time-to-time should be restored without any delay,” he added.
He said that the present unrest in the state was essentially the result of erosion of the autonomous status provided under constitutional provision of Article 370 to J&K.
“The remedy lies not in attempting distortion of history which can only compound the crisis further. It is in the interest of the state and the country that the political leadership go through the history of broken promises and restore the eroded autonomous status of the state,” said Tarigami in a statement.