Ever since India’s independence in 1947, presidencies including that of the Deccan, Mysore, and Madras joined hands with the Indian union. Although there was not much of a choice left for many, Kashmir was provided with a chance to choose their side- India or Pakistan. On October 1949, Article 370 was introduced to the Indian constitution and has been a part of the ruling of Jammu and Kashmir.
But there were major shifts brought about by the Modi government in 2019 as Article 370 was removed from the constitution.
But the question arises- what is Article 370 all about?
· With Article 370 in place, the state government of Jammu and Kashmir has the right to form laws other than sectors of defence, finance, foreign affairs and communications.
· The Article also provides Kashmir with the right to have its own flag and constitution while restricting the right to ownership. There are also limitation on acquiring citizenship for any outsider or non-resident.
· Hence, the residents of the state are not liable to follow the laws of the country like the rest of the citizens especially when matters of property ownership and citizenship is involved.
The connection between Article 35A and Article 370
Article 35A was introduced in 1954 which allows local legislatures in Kashmir the right to determine the permanent residents of the area. Activities such as permanent settlement, buying land, holding authoritative jobs or qualifying for scholarships within the borders of the state are also forbidden by the article. Any female resident from Kashmir is also not allowed to marry any non-resident of the state. Hence with the Article 35A in implementation, Article 370 received additional benefits- the power vested in the local authorities by these two articles were greater than that of any other state in the country.
· Reasons for the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A
· Preventing terrorist activities on the borders
· Preventing violation of human rights within the boundaries of the state
· Maintaining peace, law and order
· Including residents of Kashmir in the mainstream of the country
· Developing economic and social stability
Impact of abrogation of Article 370
Since the discussion of the implication of Article 370 has been on the lines of its benefits based on some broad categories, we shall discuss how the abrogation of the article has impacted life in Kashmir based on those aspects.
Jammu and Kashmir faced the longest internet shutdown in the history of democracy (from 4th of August, 2019 to 4th of March, 2020). Moreover, the post shutdown period only saw the restoration of 2G and broadband internet while 4G is still not available.
Travel and tourism
The tourism industry while is responsible for almost 10 per cent of the GDP of J&K has been in shambles since the abrogation of Article 370 as only 50,000 tourists visited the state during this time.
The total loss incurred in ten districts of Kashmir only after 120 days post August 5th 2019 was ₹17,878.18 cr. (as per the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy or CMIE stated that the percentage of unemployment crossed the threshold of 20 per cent in August 2019 while previously it had decreased significantly for almost 30 months.