Back in 1954, the Indian government made a significant move by introducing two articles, namely Article 370 and Article 35A, to the constitution of India. These articles were specifically designed to provide exclusive privileges and safeguard the rights of the Kashmiris and the Jammu and Kashmir region. The decision to add these articles was a crucial step towards ensuring equal representation and protection of the region’s people, which was a significant concern at the time.
Article 370 provided a temporary provision which granted the Illegal Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir region; to establish self-government, region can have its own constitution, have a separate flag and can have legislative power but was limited to some extent. Article 35 A was introduced by presidential order. Under this article, Kashmiris were given right to own lands, apply for jobs and avail educational scholarship. The Indians were restricted to avail job opportunities and to have Kashmiri domicile.
The aforementioned articles have effectively established a comprehensive framework that outlines the fundamental rights of Kashmiris, and have significantly contributed to the support of their aspirations, objectives, and beliefs. Their significance in bolstering the position of Kashmir cannot be overstated, as they provide a crucial mechanism for safeguarding the rights of Kashmir’s people in accordance with UN resolutions. It is evident that these articles are instrumental in promoting the well-being and prosperity of the Kashmiri community.
2014 was the year when an extremist Indian party, BJP, came into power with one of the objectives to foster Hinduism in India. In 2019, the leader of this party Narindra Modi, abrogated the “Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir” and exploited the rights of Kashmiris. Several brutal tactics were made, troops were deployed and hundreds of innocent Kashmiris were killed. The Indian leader also amended laws which were not meeting the will and ideology of Kashmiris. This exploitation of Kashmiris was the apparent annihilation of human rights and this was the violence of international law as well by the Indians. The day on which the constitution was repelled is known as “Youm-e-Istehsal” and in English it is translated as “The day of Exploitation”
Now the question is Why the Indian government does away the Article 370 and 35 A? Even before BJP came into The Hindu nationalists and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were showing resentment and opposing the articles for a longtime. In 2019 party’s election manifesto they openly foster the revocation of the articles. Actually the government wanted to weak the stance of IIOJK on its objective and its rival Pakistan, Indian government was aware that if it would take the following step it would succeed in its objective. India wanted to abolish the government of Kashmir so that it could manipulate their matters according to their will. India wanted to make some economic developments in the region and it would facilitate the economy of India and would not be a beneficial for the Kashmiri residents. As in the article 35 A no non Kashmiri was allowed to own land in IIOJK with its abrogation, Indians were allowed to own land and Indian government had issued 3.5 million fake domicile to Indians and this step was taken with an intention to change the demography of IIOJK.
Giving domicile to millions of Indians means establishing the roots of future riots due to the different values and practices. It would uncomfortable the Muslims of IIOJK to breath freely and practice their religious and cultural values. BJP would definitely struggle to dominate the Hindus in the society which would not be welcomed by our Muslim brethren. Surely, the differences would shape into killing and other societal problems leading community to be unstable.
Across the Indian border, Pakistan strongly opposed this abrogation of both articles because this was against the ideology of their Muslim brothers in IIOJK. Pakistan has consistently criticized the abrogation and labeled it as illegal and unilateral. It also condemned it as violence of international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions on the dispute of Kashmir. Pakistan stance has been to support the right of self-determination of Kashmiri people and to call for a peaceful solution of this unsolved dispute through dialogue and negotiation rather using guns. Pakistan has raised the violation of the rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir to several International forum including United Nation.
Youm-e-Istehsal is observed by Pakistan every year on 5th August to show solidarity with the oppressed community of Kashmir and to be their back to win them back the rights they are deprived of. Every year, Pakistan stage different social programs and rallies to express their opposition towards the illegal abrogation and support the rights of Kashmiri people. It is important for Pakistan to support their Kashmiri brothers as hundreds of Kashmiris were martyred fighting for the purpose to join Pakistan.
The writer Shehryar Irshad is an Intern at YFK- International Kashmir Lobby Group, and a student of International Relation at NUML, Islamabad.