How many people in Kashmir know about Article 35-A, over which a lot of hue and cry has been raised, came into being? Do they know what a difficult task it was to get it incorporated into the Constitution of India and then implemented? Several of my readers in mainland India and Pakistan as well don’t know enough about Article 35-A and why the people of Kashmir have taken to the streets to protest any attempt from the Federal Indian government to alter or abrogate this Article.
In October 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India reinforced the stipulation that New Delhi’s jurisdiction in the state would remain limited to the categories of defence, foreign affairs, and communications, as underlined in the Instrument of Accession. This stipulation was provisional and its final status would be decided upon the resolution of the Kashmir issue. Subsequent to India acquiring the status of a Republic in 1950, this constitutional provision enabled the incorporation of Article 370 into the Indian Constitution, which ratified the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir (JK) within the Indian Union. Article 370 stipulates that New Delhi can legislate on the subjects of defence, foreign affairs, and communications only in just and equitable consultation with the government of the state of JK, and can intervene on other subjects only with the consent of the JK Assembly.
The representatives of the JK government ruled out any modifications to their land reforms program, which had dispossessed the feudal class without any right to claim compensation. It was also agreed that as opposed to the other units in the Union, the residual powers of legislation would be vested in the state assembly instead of the centre
The purportedly autonomous status of JK provoked the ire of ultra-right-wing nationalist parties, which sought the unequivocal integration of the state into the Indian union. The unitary concept of nationalism that such organisations subscribed to challenged the basic principle that the nation was founded on: democracy. In this nationalist project, one of the forms that the nullification of past and present histories takes is the subjection of religious minorities to a centralised and authoritarian state. The unequivocal aim of the supporters of the integration of JK into the Indian union was to expunge the political autonomy endowed on the State by India’s constitutional provisions. According to the unitary discourse of sovereignty disseminated by ultra-right-wing nationalists, JK wasn’t entitled to the signifiers of statehood.
As I observe in my book, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010):
The negotiations in June and July 1952 between a delegation of the J&K government led by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Mirza Afzal Beg, and a delegation of the Indian government led by Nehru resulted in the Delhi Agreement, which maintained the position on the autonomous status of J&K. In his public speech made on 11 August, Sheikh Abdullah declared that his aim had been to preserve “maximum autonomy for the local organs of state power, while discharging obligations as a unit of the [Indian] Union.”
At the talks held between the representatives of the state government and the Indian government, the Kashmiri delegation relented on just one issue: it conceded the extension of the Indian Supreme Court’s arbitrating jurisdiction to the state in case of disputes between the federal government and the state government or between JK and another state of the Indian Union. But the Kashmiri delegation shrewdly disallowed an extension of the Indian Supreme Court’s purview to the state as the ultimate arbitrator in all civil and criminal cases before JK courts. The delegation was also careful to prevent the financial and fiscal integration of the state with the Indian Union.
The representatives of the JK government ruled out any modifications to their land reform program, which had dispossessed the feudal class without any right to claim compensation. It was also agreed that as opposed to the other units in the Union, the residual powers of legislation would be vested in the state assembly instead of the centre. The political logic of autonomy was necessitated by the need to bring about socioeconomic transformations, and so needs to be retained in its original form.
Source : https://dailytimes.com.pk/279203/kashmiris-constitutional-rights-are-worth-defending/