Author: Anagha Koratamaddi
This article was submitted as an entry for the Literary and Artistic Competition organised by Lawctopus on Article 370.
“The President on the recommendation of parliament is pleased to declare as, from 5th August 2019, all clauses of the said Article 370 shall cease to be operative..”
12-year-old Gappu is excited at the sight of Kheer being prepared by his mom. He is all excited looking at the happy faces of his mom and dad. His grandma finished her evening prayer and sat on the easy-chair. The family is set to have a good evening time with the Kheer. The cold evening breeze of Kashmir has got its perfect match with fresh and hot Kashmiri Kheer.
The family started enjoying the Kheer. Gappu turned to his dad and asked innocently, “What’s special papa? Why are we having Kheer today?”
His dad replied, “Guess what? Today is a very good day for all of our Jammu&Kashmiri people. A historical decision has been taken by the Parliament to repeal Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.”
“Article 370? But my teacher told that we only have 158 Articles in our Constitution!” asked Gappu.
“Not anymore, Gappu. That was the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir only. Now, that is no more valid. We are now officially bound to the provisions of the Constitution of India. We only have one constitution- i.e., the ‘Constitution of India’. We would be having only one citizenship- ‘Indian Citizenship.’ We are now completely “Indians”. We all are now equal to the rest of the Indians” said his dad.
“That means, we will be having Indian laws?” asked Gappu.
“Absolutely. We now even have to abide by the Right To Information Act, which helps us to have the transparency of governmental activities. We will be having the Indian Penal Code and the procedural laws of India” said his dad.
“And also, the gender bias which was existing in Jammu&Kashmiri constitution is no more. Now, Kashmiri women can freely settle anywhere in India, can marry anyone they wish to, and still have Indian citizenship. It was not like that earlier.
As per the earlier state constitution, a wife or a widow of the state would “acquire the status of her husband as state subject of the same class as her husband”. If the woman marries an Indian outside the Jammu and Kashmir state, she would lose her Kashmiri citizenship. Or even if she tends to have a permanent residence in India outside the J&K state, she would again lose the Kashmiri citizenship.
It is not the case right now and we have become free of this restriction. It is indeed a good day for us” said his mom.
“Why were there so many restrictions in our state constitution?” asked Gappu.
“Those restrictions were relevant at the time of adopting our state constitution. Those were the days when we all got freedom from British rule. With freedom, we got troubles either. Pakistan got separated from India and Jammu and Kashmir has become the cause of disputes between both India and Pakistan. Jammu and Kashmir territory was neither willing to join Pakistan nor willing to join India.
Those were the days we got threats from Pakistan and Maharaja Hari Singh, who was ruling Jammu and Kashmir territory at that time, decided to sign the “Instrument of Accession” through which the state of Jammu and Kashmir came under the control of India. Though it was not complete control of India as Article 370 had been introduced in the Constitution of India later on.
This article gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir a special status which gave the state various “Special powers” unlike the other states of Indian Union” said grandma.
“Special powers? What are they?” asked Gappu.
“Like we can have our own constitution and not abided by the Constitution of India unlike the other states of the Indian Union. We can also have our own Penal and procedural laws. We have had our own State Flag and we were not compelled to respect the Indian flag. No one other than Kashmiri citizens were allowed to buy land or put up industries in Jammu and Kashmir.
We have had dual citizenship, unlike the other Indian citizens. As a whole, our state was an autonomous state which had its own constitution, which included different rules of citizenship, property and different fundamental rights from the rest of India” said dad.
“We are now completely different. We will have to be abided by the Indian constitution. We will have all the Indian laws. We are now no different from the rest of India. We will now bear the one and only Indian tricoloured flag, which is the symbol of courage & selflessness, peace, and prosperity. We will be having single citizenship of India like all other Indians” said mom.
“Interesting,” said Gappu.
“We now also have minority reservation like all other Indian states. It will encourage minority students to get educated through governmental aids. We will now be having better educational opportunities as more schools and colleges will likely to be set up here. Professors from other places could easily teach here and the quality of education rises up. Since people from other places could now buy land here, other entrepreneurs are free to set up industries.
This will help in the economic growth of Jammu and Kashmir. This will enhance the employment of Jammu and Kashmiri people. This will also improve the quality of life of Kashmiri people. This surely, is a great step towards the prosperity of Jammu and Kashmiri people” said dad.
“Also, Article 360 of the Indian constitution which states about the Financial Emergency provisions is also now applicable to the Jammu and Kashmir just like the rest of the Indian states” added mom.
“Wow. It is a great change! But why has it not been done during these many years?” asked Gappu.
“Lack of Political support, you could say. Also, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was a sensitive matter to the Indian government as it involves many disputes with Pakistan and China. However, this is a great move taken by the Indian government today. Through this, we are able to develop more and stay safer than earlier.
Even though there was a good amount of opposition to this bill, this still holds more pros and makes us stand equal with the rest of the Indians. We are now officially complete Indians” said dad.
“Hey, and also, now Jammu and Kashmir is not a single state. It has been divided into 2 Union Territories- Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir” added mom.
“So much to know! I am happy to know about this today. Let’s celebrate!” cheered Gappu.
They all took the glasses of Kashmiri Kheer and said together, “JAI HIND!”