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RSS to Closely Watch Modi Govt's Stand on Validity of Article 35A

It would be interesting to see how much influence the Centre draws from RSS’ views on the Kashmir issue as it finalizes its stand on Article 35A.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:October 30, 2017, 1:31 PM IST
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RSS to Closely Watch Modi Govt's Stand on Validity of Article 35A
File photo of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

New Delhi: When Modi government puts forward its position on Article 35A at the Supreme Court, it would be watched closely by the Sangh Parivar, especially in the wake of “necessary Constitutional amendments” suggested by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in his annual Vijayadashmi speech last month.

Article 35A of the Constitution defines who the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir are, and that outsiders cannot own property in the state, neither can they enjoy any benefits of the state government. The Supreme Court on Monday is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the validity of this 1954 law.

Bhagwat, while lauding the government’s muscular policy in Kashmir, broached the topic of making “necessary Constitutional amendments” to assimilate “the residents of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of Bharat”.

Bhagwat’s speech on Vijayadashami, was seen as giving a policy direction to the swayamsewaks in the BJP governments at the Centre and states. Bhagwat dedicated a major chunk of his speech to the Kashmir issue and the validity of Kashmir’s special status.

It would be interesting to see how much influence the Centre draws from RSS’ views on the Kashmir issue as it finalizes its stand on Article 35A.

One thing that has remained unchanged over the years is RSS and BJP’s opposition to the Constitutional provisions given to Kashmir. The RSS has time and again voiced its objection to Article 370 that grants a special autonomous status to the state and Article 35A that lets the state legislature define its ‘permanent residents’ giving them special rights and privileges.

Bhagwat had said, “The problems of permanent residents of the state, who migrated from Pakistan occupied Jammu-Kashmir in 1947, and the people who were displaced from the Kashmir Valley in 1990 also remain as they were.”

He added, “We have to create conditions so that our these brothers can lead a happy, dignified and secure life like other Indians by availing equal democratic rights and fulfilling democratic duties, even while remaining firm and devoted to their religions and national identity.”

While enjoying power in both the Centre and state, BJP’s plight lies in balancing policy pronouncements of its ideological front, the RSS and also its ally, the PDP.

Both BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s take on Kashmir’s autonomy. This political line conforms to RSS’ long-standing view on Kashmir.

The real challenge, however, would lie in fine-tuning the government’s position to reconcile with PDP’s political compulsions in the state.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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