Article 370 of the Indian constitution gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, a region located in the northern part of Indian Subcontinent which was administered by India as a state from 1954 to 31 October 2019 and a part of the larger region of Kashmir which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan and China since 1947,conferring it with the power to have a separate constitution, a state flag and autonomy over the internal administration of the state.
Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was an article that empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents. It was added to the Constitution through a Presidential Order issued by the President of India on 14 May 1954, under Article 370. The state of Jammu and Kashmir defined these privileges to include the ability to purchase land and immovable property, ability to vote and contest elections, seeking government employment and availing other state benefits such as higher education and health care. Non-permanent residents of the state, even if Indian citizens, were not entitled to these ‘privileges’.
Need for Abrogation
The Aug 5, 2019 decisions of Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A were bold because there was a need for them for many years, definitely the last three decades since the proxy war began in J&K. The center of gravity of the Pakistani sponsored proxy war was always identified as the ‘people of J&K’, many of whom openly expounded the ‘idea of Azadi’ (independence). The concept of Azadi was based upon the notion that J&K was different to the rest of India because of Muslim majority state and historically not aligned with the mainland. Pakistan’s game plan was flexible; full secession of J&K to it, or sequential through the route of Azadi. The idea of Azadi created the sentiment of exclusivity which mainstream politicians in J&K further exploited to create the demand for autonomy. Both Articles 370 and 35A were responsible for the creation of these sentiments which were fully exploited by anti-national elements and Pakistan.
Effect of Abrogation of 370 and 35A
In what comes as a direct effect of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has increased manifold and is now, in fact, better than ever.
Violence has decreased in the valley after August 5, 2019, when the clause was withdrawn from the constitution, thereby revoking the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
In these past 11 months, there have been major successes against terror rackets in the valley.
According to a report by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, incidents of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir have declined by about 36% after the abrogation of Article 370.