While strongly reacting to Union Finance Minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley’s statement that “Article 35A is constitutionally vulnerable and also hampering economic development of J&K” Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee Vice President and former MLC G N Monga today said the BJP was trying to twist the historical facts for electoral gains.
In a statement issued here, Monga said, “Arun Jaitley himself is a renowned lawyer and must know the consequences of repealing Article 35A which is not the only Presidential Order which has been implemented.”
“BJP is showing its true colours by raking up controversial issues at the time of elections. Their arguments on Article 35A are weak and won’t work. Not only people of Kashmir region but people of Jammu and Ladakh regions too will resist any move by the BJP to revoke Article 35-A tooth and nail as it is equally beneficial for the people of all the regions of the state,” he said.
Giving the historical background of Article 35-A, the JKPCC Vice President said, “Article 35A of the constitution empowers J&K legislature to define state’s permanent residents and their special rights and privileges. It was added to the constitution through a presidential order of 1954 with the then J&K government’s concurrence. Through 1927 and 1932 notifications, Dogra ruler of the princely state of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh imposed a law that defined state subjects and their rights. The law also regulated migrants to the state. J&K joined India through the instrument of accession signed by its ruler Hari Singh in October 1947.”
“After J&K’s accession, late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah took over reins from Dogra ruler and in 1949 he negotiated J&K’s political relationship with Delhi, which led to the inclusion of Article 370 in the Constitution. Article 370 guarantees special status to J&K, restricting Union’s legislative powers over three areas: defence, foreign affairs and communications. However, under the 1952 Delhi Agreement between Abdullah and Nehru, several provisions of the Constitution were extended to J&K via presidential order in 1954. Article 35A was inserted then,” the Congress leader said.
Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir’s accession with India was full and final, Monga said, “By raking up such issues BJP and RSS are trying to challenge it now and they will be themselves responsible for making question mark on the accession of the State with the Union.”