August 05, 2019

Article 35A Discriminated Against Kashmiri Women, Dalits, Gorkhas, Indian Soldiers And Refugees, Says Government

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The central government has published a booklet which explains how the now superseded Article 35A discriminated against scheduled caste Valmikis (Dalits) from Punjab, refugees from West Pakistan, Gorkhas and women living in Jammu and Kashmir for six decades.

According to the booklet published by the central government, these sections were never treated as residents of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

The booklet has explained how Article 35A which defined permanent residents of J&K ensured that scheduled caste Valmikis who have been living in the state since 1957 were compelled to become sweepers in the municipality of Jammu and were not given permanent residence certificates.

It has stated that without permanent residence certificates which were denied to them under Article 35A, youth from the Valmiki community were only eligible for the post of sweeper, despite being qualifications to become lawyers, doctors and teachers.

Article 35A not only conferred powers upon the J&K state government to give special benefits to permanent residents of the state, it also proscribed non-permanent residents from permanently settling in the state, buying immovable property, acquiring land, applying for government jobs, any kind of scholarships and aid and other public welfare projects.

Similarly, under the now superseded Article 35A, even Kashmiri Muslim women could not choose their life partners from outside the state of J&K, which made the Article unconstitutional, discriminatory and biased, the booklet has stated.

Popularly known as the Permanent Residents Law, Article 35A prohibits a woman hailing from J&K state, from staking claim to any property rights in J&K state if she marries a person from outside the state of J&K. The same also extends to the children of such women since they too cease to enjoy any succession rights over the property in J&K state.

The government published booklet stated that because of Article 35A, even Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers who worked in the state could not buy a house even after spending 32 years of service in J&K.

According to the booklet, even relatives of soldiers who had made the supreme sacrifice while defending Jammu and Kashmir border could not get a piece of land in the state as compensation.

To illustrate the point, the government booklet stated that out of 21 Param Veer Chakras awarded to soldiers, 16 were awarded in Jammu and Kashmir and 15 of those honoured belonged to other states, despite the fact that none of their relatives were eligible for a piece of land in J&K.

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