Article 35A and tension in Kashmir: All you need to know

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New Delhi : Jammu and Kashmir remains in limelight all the year round. And, now the state tension has thrown light on Article 35 A, which provides special rights to the restive state’s citizens. On September 5, the National Conference said that it will boycott the upcoming panchayat and local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir unless the Centre and state government clear their view on this particular Article.

The National Congress president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah said his party will make its best attempts to interfere with the constitutional guarantee in any manner what so ever.

“Unless and until the government of India and state government clear their position in the regard and take effective steps for the protection of Article 35A in and outside court, the NC will not participate in the elections,’’ Abdullah said after the meeting of the party’s core group.

What is Article 35A?

Article 35A of the Indian Constitution is an article that authorizes the Jammu and Kashmir state's legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents. It was added to the Indian Constitution in 1954 by means of a Presidential Order. 

Why Kashmir want Article 35A?

The supporting provision says that Article 35A is part of a historical pact between Kashmir and India allowing the state a special status in India. During the time of accession, it was agreed that the state would be endowed such status. Today, J&K derives its special status from two key constitutional provisions- Article 370 and Article 35A.

Despite ensuring that the residents or locals in the Valley don't lose their rights over land, government jobs and scholarships, the clause has raised controversy over possible discrimination on the basis of gender. The 1954 order denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state.

Now since, protesters and leaders in Kashmir have joined hands regarding the challenging petitions on Article 35A in Supreme Court; there is a huge pressure to maintain peace in the state.