Remove Article 35A
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Discriminatory Article 35A must go
Valmikis (Dalits) were brought to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in 1957 by the State Government. From that time, the present and future generations are compelled to become sweeper and that too only in the Municipality of Jammu. Valmikies are not given the Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) and they are eligible only for the post of 'sweeper'. This leaves them with only one option that is to take the broom and clear the dirty streets of Jammu. The youth of this community in J&K may be qualified to become teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers yet they are eligible for the post of sweeper only. There are West Pakistan Refugees and Gorkhas, and the PRC is not conferred on them, as a result, they are not entitled to property rights; employment in state government; participation in Panchayat, municipalities and legislative assembly elections; admission to government-run technical education institutions; scholarships and other social benefits, voting rights, right to join central services. Women in J&K cannot choose her life partner outside the state. All of this is happening due to the implementation of Article 35A in the state of J&K. This article is unconstitutional, discriminatory and biased.
What is Article 35A?
Article 35A enables the J&K Assembly to define ‘permanent residents’ and allows it to give PRC to people in J&K. Though the PRC holders are entitled to various rights and privileges, which are denied to the non-PRC persons but this provision also gives legal sanction to discriminate even among the PRC holders. Article 35A is that part of the Constitution of India which was added by the President of India without getting it discussed and approved by the Parliament of India. It is against the spirit of the Constitution of India. This provision discriminates on the basis of caste, class, gender, and place of origin in clear contravention to the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution of our country.
IMPLICATIONS of ARTICLE 35A?
Ø No one, except those defined as ‘permanent residents’ with PRC are entitled to property rights; employment in state government; participation in Panchayat, municipalities, and legislative assembly elections; admission to government-run technical education institutions; scholarships and other social benefits, voting rights, right to join central services. Thus, it discriminates against the rest of the Indian citizens.
Ø This Article has denied all the above-mentioned rights to various communities, like the Scheduled Caste Valmikies from Punjab, West Pakistan Refugees, Gorkhas, Women living in Jammu-Kashmir for the past six decades.
Ø The Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers, who retire after working in J & K for 30-32 years to ensure smooth administration of the state, cannot even buy a house in the state. Nor can their children study or work in any govt. institutions of the state.
Ø Since the J&K borders two hostile nations and also due to consistent terrorist activities in the state, the largest number of soldiers attained martyrdom in J&K. Of the 21 Param Veer Chakras awarded to soldiers fighting at the borders, 16 were awarded for fighting at Jammu Kashmir borders, and of these 15 soldiers were from outside the state. However, it is ironical that those who lay their lives to protect the land are not given even a small piece of land, because they are outsiders.
Detrimental for the PRC holder also:
Ø No industrialists invest here as they cannot own the land for his factory, which, if allowed, could provide employment to the locals.
Ø With ulterior motive to keep the people belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC) away from Political Power, it has been decided that the seats in the legislature of the state shall not be increased for them till the year 2031, denying them representation in the legislature as per the ratio of their population.
Ø Tribals comprise nearly 15% of the State’s population, but political reservations for Scheduled Tribes are non-existent and they are denied social justice and equitable distribution of opportunities.
Ø People from outside J&K are denied right to take up any govt job, resulting in a serious dearth of qualified experts in professional educational institutions, including medical and engineering colleges. This has a detrimental effect on the quality of professional education and the local students are suffering.
Ø Qualified doctors, specialists and researchers from other states do not work in J&K. There is an acute shortage of doctors in super specialty hospitals and professors in the Medical Colleges.
It is important to debate the constitutional validity of Article 35A, which was inserted in the constitution, without even discussing and approving it from the parliament. Modern day India certainly cannot allow such grievous forgery of the past to continue to darken the future of its citizens. Together we can ensure equality, liberty, and justice for the sufferers. This regressive, discriminatory, biased and unjust law must be repealed. Please sign my petition and join me in the fight for the dignity and rights of lakhs of people in the state of J&K.
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