AMBUSH ON DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTER OF J&K STATE

A petition has been filed in J&K High Court praying for grant of state subject rights to children of those local women who have married non State subject males. There are also reports that New-Delhi & its anointed politicians in Srinagar are seriously thinking of offering a one-time settlement to west Pakistan refugees which includes bestowing them with voting rights for State assembly. 
Reportedly, few bureaucrats in New-Delhi, known to be unfavorably disposed towards the majority people of this State are vigorously pursuing the above matter. This reinforces one’s belief that there are elements among the policy makers in Srinagar & New-Delhi who are always on prowl to devise ways & means of changing the Muslim demographic character of the State in the long run.

It is, therefore in the fitness of things, to analyze the two issues in proper perspective 

The genesis of the State Subject law lies in notification issued by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1927. The definition of State Subject as promulgated during his rule was retained in our State Constitution which came into force in 1957.Unfortunately this definition is silent with regard to status of local women marrying non-local men. But the practice of depriving such women of their permanent status, as appeared in tune with the sprit & intention of the law, was enforced through an executive order of Revenue Ministers which required every deputy commissioner to insert a line “Valid till marriage” in Female state subjects. Obviously such women were not issued PRCs after their marriage. 

Post 1947, the first ambush on such practice came from a top bureaucrat of the State-Mr. S.A.S Qadri whose daughter married a non local state subject-Mr. Mehmood-ul Rehman himself a top bureaucrat. He was able to obtain a favorable order from the then Revenue Minster declaring this inserted line “null & void” on the ground that “the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir or any other law does not provide for deprivation of a permanent resident of the state of his or her status.”

But While the practice of inserting this line continued, the matter went finally to Court. In October 2002, the full bench of the High Court in a case titled State of Jammu and Kashmir vs Dr Sushila Sawhney, held that the daughter of a permanent resident of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will not lose status as permanent resident of the State upon marriage with a person who is not permanent resident of the State. The state Government went for appeal against this order in the Supreme Court. In 2004, the ruling PDP-Cong Government withdrew the appeal(God alone knows why?) and instead a bill was moved in the Legislative Assembly seeking disqualification of a woman marrying a non-state subject. This bill was passed by the lower house but the political deceit & farce practiced upon Kashmiris by New Delhi since 1947 saw this bill to fail in Upper House .Few years later, a private member’s bill was also introduced in the house but it could also not be passed because New-Delhi did not want it. In absence of any challenge, the judgment of the High Court having become law -which means that permanent women residents of the state can marry non state subjects without loosing their resident status. And now the petition before the High Court to confer same rights on their children reminds one of the famous Arabian proverb- Allow the camel once to put his nose in the tent, he will soon occupy the full tent.

The issue of west Pakistani refugees, who migrated from erstwhile Pakistan in 1947 and stayed in our State is another issue hanging over our heads like a domicile’s sword. Logically these refugees should have been taken care of by Central Govt. and rehabilitated outside the State borders like many other refugees under various schemes framed by New-Delhi in that regard. Numbering around few lacs, their cause is sometimes pleaded on the basis of humanity & sometimes on the basis of length of period they have spent in State. A committee headed by then Financial commissioner G.D.Wadhwa constituted in 2007 also made certain recommendations on the issue but never made public. According to informed sources the said committee has recommended grant of citizenship & voting rights to these refugees purely on communal grounds and in total disregard to State’s special exclusive state subject laws.

But Sure enough, it is pointless to blame the forces in New-Delhi alone in this regard. Equally at fault are our own so-called leaders who are guided by a narrow vision of self-interest. The demographic character of Jammu was changed in 1947 by the state with tacit support of certain forces in New-Delhi. Our leaders failed to take any action-corrective or remedial. Efforts are now being made to repeat the same history .However, great people should never try to correct the history, but should only learn from it. 

Author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Feed back at abdulmajidzargar@gmail.com

 

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