‘Repealing or abrogating of article 370 from India’s Constitution could provoke protests’

Repealing or abrogating of article 370 from India’s Constitution could provoke protests and more radicalization in the state, a seminar at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) mentions.

Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, IISS senior fellow for South Asia, and others presented a range of perspectives at the seminar on ‘India’s Modi government 2.0 – foreign and security priorities’.

He said, “Modi government needs to exercise caution over its stated objective of abrogating Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, lest it leads to demographic changes provoking further violent protests and an increase in the radicalization of Kashmiri youth”.

Article 370 grants autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, while Article 35A allows the state legislature to define ‘permanent resident’ of the state, which is key to exercising various citizen rights.

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution grants special autonomous status to Jammu & Kashmir. Under Part XXI of the Constitution of India, which deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions”, the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been accorded special status under Article 370.

The provision was drafted in 1947 by Sheikh Abdullah, who had by then been appointed a prime minister of Jammu & Kashmir by Maharaja Hari Singh and Jawahar Lal Nehru. Sheikh Abdullah had argued that Article 370 should not be placed under temporary provisions of the Constitution. He wanted ‘iron clad autonomy’ for the state, which Centre didn’t comply with.

According to this article, except for defense, foreign affairs, finance, and communications, Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws. Thus the state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians. As a result of this provision, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir.

Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state. It can declare an emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression. The Union government can therefore not declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government