Saturday, August 12, 2017

Nazir Masoodi - For First Time, A Kashmir Shutdown In Support Of Indian Constitution

Today, there was a complete shutdown in Kashmir against any attempt to strike down Article 35A of the Constitution which defines Permanent Residents of the state and prevents outsiders from buying and owning property in the state. This is the first time that Kashmir has observed a shutdown to protect a provision of the Constitution of India. On the face of it, this is a huge departure from Kashmir's predominant separatism which doesn't recognise the Indian Constitution. In the last 28 years of the separatist movement, different groups have called for over 2,200 days of shutdown - totaling 6 years- for Azadi and a plebiscite.

Transcending the ideological divide, Article 35A has brought the mainstream, separatists and all other sections of society together on a common cause. The issue is that Article 35A is considered the bedrock of the special status promised to Kashmir. An NGO backed by right-wing groups has challenged it on the grounds that it violates the fundamental rights of citizens of India including owning property and the right to reside and settle in any part of the country.

Separatists are using the issue to drive home the point that Kashmir's accession to the union of India by Maharajah Hari Singh on October 26, 1947 was not in the interest of Kashmir and the challenge to the validity of the provision underscores the fragility of constitutional guarantees given to the people of Kashmir. For mainstream political parties, who are confronting their biggest ever crisis these days, leaders are unsure if they can continue as mainstream (pro-India ) politicians if the Supreme Court strikes down the law... read more:

More posts on Kashmir