On Article 370

Students write about their views about the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir.

Chandrendu Chattopadhyay

Article 370 was a temporary provision. The rising tension in Kashmir has been a headache for India. The maintenance of the armed forces in the area has cost a huge amount. Hence, the area should be opened to economic activities. First of all, it would employ the people there. Second, the government can earn revenue from the increase in tourism which could satisfy the cost of maintaining an army. Third, this will reduce terrorism, as making it a Union Territory brings it under the President, the ex officio commanderin-chief of the armed forces. It can also be contended that India only had power over the state of J&K with regards to defence, communication and external affairs, which goes against the principle of equality secured to all Indian citizens. In a country which promotes social justice and equality, every region should be treated the same.

To conclude, I support the idea of adding J&K to India and removing the disadvantages under the banner of ‘Special Provisions’ which not only created discord among the people but also provided grounds for other countries to try to exercise their will over Indian soil.

Himagn Malik

The Kashmir Reorganization Bill is dubbed not as a historical bill, but as a correction of a mistake made in 1947. This would bring back the rule of the Indian government into the state, and not restrict the government to matters of defence, foreign affairs and communication. Moreover, this makes 106 laws applicable to the Union Territories. This reform supports the government’ s mandate of bringing development and also enforces stricter laws to curb public violence. Ladakh had been paralyzed since decisions used to come from Srinagar. It received insufficient funds and improper representation in the Legislative Assembly. Article 35A meant that no private entity could invest there. With the new bill, Ladakh will now have a lieutenant governor, thus giving the state recognition and moving towards solving its problems . Now, non-residents can purchase land in J&K, which will lead to development. This would help set up industries and increase tourism. Stricter laws will make it less likely for citizens to take up arms , and the presence of the army in the area will discourage terror plot s . Therefore, I believe that the valley once plagued with terrorism and improper governance, can now steadily move towards the path of development.

Kshitij Kasi Viswanath

The abrogation of Article 370 is far from unconstitutional since Article 370(3) allows the President to do so. One of the main hindrances in the development of J&K was the provision which only allowed Kashmiris to own land and hold administrative posts there. Since the Indian government was only given power to interfere with the defence, communications and foreign affairs of J&K, the state almost functioned like a country of its own where Indian laws were not applicable. Mismanagement on part of the J&K Bank led the Kashmiri economy to ruins. Moreover, the local administrative officers did not wish to be posted in places like Drass and Leh, which led to these districts being neglected. Due attention was essential for the district of Ladakh, which being a Buddhist majority region, has a distinct cultural identity. Effective administration in Ladakh was important to ensure its development and integration with the nation. It is only through economic progress and increase in positive opportunities can peace and love for one’s nation be installed. A curfew is never the answer.

Yash Sinha

The scrapping of Articles 370 and 35A is a progressive step towards the development of J&K. Being an integral part of the country, the laws there should conform with the rest of the nation and no special status should be reserved for any particular state. Some provisions mentioned in Article 35A were discriminatory against not only the non-permanent residents but also against some minority groups. Removal of Article 35A has not only allowed the government to rapidly develop the infrastructure in J&K using the investments flowing in from mainland India, but it has also given a chance for qualified people from across the country to come in and settle there. This move will allow all the Kashmiri Pandits, who had been thrown out in the exodus of 1989-90, to return there. Giving control of the state back to the government will prevent China and Pakistan from funding separatists in the area. Kashmir has finally been reclaimed after 72 years and the government’s management of security during the whole process was remarkable.

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Kirit P. Mehta School of Law Publications