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Jaitley Says Article 35A Nehru’s ‘Historical Blunder’; Discriminates Between J&K Residents, Rest of India

The Union minister also pointed out that the Article “hurts” the people of J&K since it “cripples” enrichment, resource generation and job creation by preventing investments by foreign players.

News18.com

Updated:March 28, 2019, 5:08 PM IST
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Jaitley Says Article 35A Nehru’s ‘Historical Blunder’; Discriminates Between J&K Residents, Rest of India
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (LSTV grab via PTI)

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the Article 35A was “surreptitiously” included in the Constitution and termed it a “historical blunder” committed by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Political parties in Kashmir, including the NC and PDP, have warned that any attempts to revise Article 35A, which would trigger unrest. The article grants special rights and privileges of the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir. The provision allows the state legislature to define permanent residents of the state, which in turn allows these residents to own property, apply for government jobs and settle down in the state.

Jaitley wrote that Article 35A“discriminates between permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and all other Indian citizens living elsewhere”, saying there are lakhs of Indian citizens living in J&K who can cast their vote in Lok Sabha elections but not in Assembly, municipal or panchayat polls.

“Their children cannot get government jobs. They cannot own property and their children cannot get admitted to governmental institutions. The heirs of women marrying outside the state are disinherited from owning or inheriting property”, he added.

The Union minister also pointed out that the Article “hurts” the people of J&K since it “cripples” enrichment, resource generation and job creation by preventing investments by foreign players.

“No investor is willing to set up an industry, hotel, private educational institutions or private hospitals since he can neither buy land or property nor can his executives do so,” he wrote.

He hit out at the three parties [PDP, NC and Congress] that have ruled J&K since 1947 for mollycoddling with separatists instead of absolutely distancing them, saying it has denied space to alternate mainstream political parties.

Stating that the government has decided that the rule of law is in the interest of the people of J&K, he cited examples of the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) crackdown on separatists, terror funding in the state and banning of outfits such as Jamaat-e-Islami and Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

“Why should the rule of law that applies to the rest of the country not apply to the State? Should violence, separatism, mass stone throwing, vicious ideological indoctrination be allowed on the plea that if we check it, it will have a negative effect? It is this misconceived policy that has proved to be counter-productive,” Jaitley wrote in his blog.

J&K has been under Governor’s Rule, and subsequently President’s Rule, after the PDP-BJP government fell apart in June last year.

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