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All you need to know about Article 370 which grants special status to J&K

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The article 370 of the Indian Constitution deals with the provision of certain special powers to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The article provides temporary provision to the state of Jammu and Kashmir granting it a special status and a constitutional aspect called autonomy.

How did it come into existence?

The article was an outcome of Kashmir’s accession to India after Independence. The people of the Kashmir valley (Muslim majority) were distressed about their identity getting lost in a Hindu dominated country.

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Doctor B R Ambedkar who was the chairman of the drafting committee of the Indian constitution was against Article 370. In 1949, Jawaharlal Nehru appointed Gopal Swami Ayyangar – a minister without portfolio in the first cabinet of India – to draft Article 370 in consultation with Sheikh Abdullah.

Article 370 was drafted in the Amendment of Constitution in part XXI under temporary and transitional provisions.

Some of the important features of Article 370-

  • J&K citizens have a dual citizenship and their own national flag.

  • Except for defense, foreign affairs and communication, all other laws passed by the Indian Parliament need to be passed by the state government before they are made applicable. As a result of this, the citizens of J&k are governed by state-specific laws which come under the constitution of J&k.

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  • Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly term is 6 years whereas it’s 5 years for other states of India.
  • Only a permanent resident can buy land in the state and citizens from other states face some restrictions.
  • If a woman marries a man from any other Indian states she loses her citizenship whereas if any woman marries a Pakistani she will be entitled to have a citizenship of Jammu and Kashmir.

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  • Shariah law is applicable to women in Kashmir.
  • There are no rights to panchayat in Kashmir, minorities in Kashmir (Hindu, Sikh) do not get 16% reservation.

In the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, social media debate is raging on the removal of the article. Opinions remain divided if it will help to resolve the Kashmir issue. People in support of this article see it as a tool to safeguard the aspirations and culture of the Kashmiri people (Muslim Majority). People against this law see it as a tool of appeasement and veneration which gives the Muslim majority a special ground to snub the voices of minorities.

 

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