NEW DELHI: Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Jagmohan has strongly advocated the removal of Article 35A from the Constitution of India.
Former J&K Governor said, “They have created a land without justice. The provisions introduced through the Constitutional Order of 1954 were done intentionally. It’s not as if the leaders, the parliamentarians didn’t know what they were doing…This law must go.”
Jagmohan was speaking as the Chief Guest on the occasion to release a documentary film on the much-discussed Article 35A relating to Jammu and Kashmir at a well-attended function at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) on Saturday.
The screening of documentary '#Article 35A' was organized jointly by NMML and Jammu Kashmir Study Centre (JKSC) , in New Delhi.
Jagmohan said. “Mere legal things cannot solve the problems. The problem will be solved only when there is fundamental change of mindset within the nation.”
“The common people of Jammu Kashmir, the poor, no one is benefitting from Article 370 or Article 35A – whether they are Hindus or Muslims. It is only vested interests, the elite, who have been benefitting these provisions. So called ‘experts’, such as A.G. Noorani, are misleading the people by advocating for Article 370,” Jagmohan said, reiterating that it is high time for this law to go.
Jagdeep Dhankhar, senior advocate of the Supreme Court and former Union Minister, in his keynote address, said Article 35A outrages every word of the Preamble of the Constitution of India. He remembered how he was also unaware of the existence of Article 35A and expressed gratitude to Jammu Kashmir Study Centre for its in-depth research on the subject.
Can President do what the Parliament cannot do? This is a very dangerous situation before us,” Dhankhar said. This Article does not deserve to be on the statute book, he added.
Dhankhar requested the Media to study this serious issue so that it can be discussed in an informed manner before the public. This issue must be taken up as a campaign by the media, so that public opinion is built to bring justice to the people of J&K.
Speaking on the occasion, Sudhir Chaudhary, Editor in chief, Zee Media said: “There’s a famous saying that ‘A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes’. Unfortunately, the situation is similar in the media today.”
He remembered how in case of Yakub Memon, the Supreme Court conducted a hearing at midnight. He wondered how in this case when thousands and lakhs are being deprived of their rights, it takes years for the court process.
“The narrative about Jammu and Kashmir is driven on the basis of the just 5-6 districts of the state, whereas the rest of 17 districts are completely peaceful and nationalist. Such narrative in the media is really painful,” Chaudhary said.
He expressed regret that the victims of 35A have not been given the right to decide their own destiny.
Articles 35A violates the rights of a large section of society residing in the state. This documentary takes us through the lives of some of the resident groups, victims to the trauma and inequitable treatment created by the implementation of this Article.
Three months in the making, this documentary travels through several districts and remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir, unraveling the visceral realities of Article 35A and looks behind the hyperbolic politicization and biased opinions on the issue. The documentary aims to synergize the discourse through an informed and rational dialogue on the issue.
Kamakhya Narayan Singh, director of the documentary, recalled how he couldn’t believe his ears when he first heard of the existence of Article 35A. “My friends in Jammu Kashmir Study Centre first told me about this Article and how it was added to the Constitution without being passed in Parliament. I went to legal experts and found that most of them were unaware about it. When I studied it further, I felt like doing something for this cause. This documentary is my contribution for the victims of Article 35A.”
Padamshri Jawaharlal Kaul, President, Jammu Kashmir Study Centre in his address said Article 35A should be seen as a danger signal for the nation.
“How can the President bring in laws by circumventing the powers of Parliament? If this is allowed, the future of the nation can never be secured, he said.
He appealed to the media and the people to stand as one against this unconstitutional law.
Jammu Kashmir Study Centre (JKSC) is an independent think-tank dedicated to objective research and policy relevant studies on all aspects relating to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The entire debate on Article 35A – its existence and role vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir – was established by the documentation and research done by JKSC since its inception six years ago.
The programme was chaired by Padamshri J.L. Kaul (President, Jammu Kashmir Study Centre). The welcome address was given by Dr. Ravi K Mishra (Deputy Director, NMML).