Majoritarian mind set

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/6/2019 1:19:46 PM IST

 With the stroke of a pen, Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian constitution was revoked for Jammu and Kashmir.Further Jammu and Kashmir has been partitioned into two union territories- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The proclamation for abrogation of Article 370 was done on August 5, 2019, when the President of Indiaissued a Presidential Order, whereby all the provisions of the Indian Constitution are to apply to the State of Jammu and Kashmir without any special provisions. Just as in 1975 when a state of emergency was declared throughout India, the presidential proclamation on August 5,2019 was preceded by rushing around 50,000 additional security force personnel to the state. The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir turned virtually into a military cantonment. All institutions were asked to close and movement was restricted. Even internet services were cut off to prevent flow of information within and outside the state. The ruling BJP’s audacious move to abrogate Article 370 stems from its ability to push through the bill with its brute majority in the Lok Sabha and a no-contest from a truncated opposition in the Rajya Sabha. Abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir has always remained as an integral part of the BJP’s agenda for ‘One Nation, One Law.’ Jammu and Kashmir became part of India through the Instrument of Accession, a legal document executed by Maharaja Hari Singh, ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, on October 26, 1947. By executing this document under the provisions of theIndian Independence Act 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh agreed to accede to the Dominion of India. By abrogating Article 370 the State’s separate Constitution stands abrogated, including the privileges allowed by the Article 35A.Article 370, somewhat similar to Article 371A(for Nagaland),that exempted the State from the complete applicability of the Constitution of India. Jammu & Kashmir then, was allowed to have its own Constitution, while Article 35A empowered the state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents. There may be some negatives in Article 370 when viewed from the perspective of Jammu and Kashmir as a state of the Indian union. One of the dominant view, among others was that Article 370 promoted a privileged community of people who enjoyed appeasement policies but without accepting their responsibilities as ordinary Indian citizens. However, according to constitutional expert A.G. Noorani, all the legal arguments against the article are groundless, and are raised with the intention to promote “majoritarian politics.” Even if Article 370 had to go as desired by the elected, the due processes of wider consultations with parliamentarians should have been held. The worst was the J&K has been partitioned and today reduced to the status of a union territory under the centre. The impact of the abrogation has also been felt in states like Nagaland where constitutional provisions exist to safeguard the indigenous people. It would not be out of place to mention that such special provisions have had a positive economic and developmental impact on the states and their people. The Modi government should view India as a union of states with people of all races and religions making up a rich and diverse tapestry. Any attempt to change that through a “majoritarian mind set” will not be good for the country. 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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