5 August 2019. A date that is marked in the history as a day when India truly strung together under ‘One nation, One constitution’. Article 370 and 35a were temporary provisions but continued to exist due to lack of political conviction. These vestiges of past had caused terrorism, separatism, corruption and social injustices thrive in the region

Therefore, when the Parliament passed the Constitutional Order abrogating the Article 370, the nation rejoiced. The rights that were enjoyed by rest of Indians were denied to the people in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The long-held demand of Ladakh to be granted a UT status was also fulfiled, bringing immense cheer to the people of the region

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on August 8, 2019 explained the significance of the historic step the government took in abrogating Article 370 and Article 35A move. He said that Article 370 and Article 35A had only given way for terrorism, separatism, nepotism and massive corruption. These articles have been used as a weapon by terror perpretators and costed us 42,000 innocent lives.

The impact of abrogation of Article 370 has been multifarious. At many instances, it acted as an oppressive provision against the dignity of life. Here are the ways in which removal of the “Special Status” has led to a new dawn in J&K.

Strengthening Human Rights

Right to life with dignity

The Constitution of India secures right to equality and dignity of every Indian. Guided by the spirit of the Constituion, the Modi government, in its first term, took a number of progressive initatives for the welfare of the socially vulnerable. However, due to Article 370, many laws passed in the Parliament were not applicable in Jammu and Kashmir. As a result, while the interests of SC/ST, minority communities have been protected through lawS in other states, people in Jammu and Kashmir were denied the same.

For instancem sanitation workers from J&K were deprived of various rights available to other sanitation workers as per Indian laws. Strong laws against atrocities against scheduled castes or scheduled tribes were not applicable in J&K earlier.

Members of the disadvantaged communities were given ‘Permanent Resident’ certificates on humiliating conditions that it would be valid only if they continued to be safai karmacharis (sanitation workers) over generations denying basic human right to choose profession. The democratic right to vote for state assembly was also not available to them.

After the abrogation of Article 370, the historical wrongs has been corrected. Now they are free to choose from any profession and unshackle chains of social oppression and atrocities.

PM Modi in his address to the nation has highlighted the other examples in which the government is ending the anomalies with the abrogation of Article 370. Under the new arrangement, central government will ensure that public employees of Jammu and Kashmir including the police have same benefits like LTC, HRA, education and health as given to their counterparts in other union territories.

Soon, the process to fill the vacancies pending with central and state government in Jammu and Kashmir will commence. Central public sector enterprises and private sector companies will be encouraged to create new employment opportunities.

Rights to refugees of partition

After Partition, many refugees came to India. Those in other states could prosper as they had equal rights and access to welfare measures as like other citizens. Some of them even rose to occupy top rungs in power.

But refugees who went to J&K did not even get citizenship. They could not become even councillors in the state. Democratic rights to be elected to the state assembly and local bodies were denied. Even the right to education, right to acquire immovable property were denied to them. Being citizens of India, they were not stateless, but being non-permanent residents of Jammu Kashmir, they were worse than stateless.

Steps taken by Modi government are ending such historical injustices caused due to Article 370.

Ensuring fundamental and legal rights

PM Modi said, “as a nation and a family, we have taken a historic decision. A system which deprived the brothers and sisters of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh of their rights has now been corrected.”

There are number of instances in which the rights that are meant for India will also now applicable to J&K with the abrogation of Article 370.

For example, applicability of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 will ensure care and maintenance of senior citizens and elderly population by their children.

Further, Right to Education to children, Right to Information to citizens to hold their representatives accountable, and such other rights will be given to all citizens in the region.

Free healthcare under Ayushman Bharat will be available now. Many such other hundreds of laws and legal rights will now be applicable to the region ensuring welfare of citizens.

Right to equality for women

Nowhere in India except J&K there was a situation in which a woman loses her property rights just because she chose to marry outside the state. Ensuring equal rights to women at par with men, Modi government has done away with these unfortunate anomalies in one stroke. Earlier if a Kashmiri man married a non-permanent resident, he could bequeath his property to his children but the same was not the case with Kashmiri woman who was married to a non-resident or a man from outside the state.

Strengthening Democracy

PM Modi in his speech said that decades of dynastic politics had deprived the J&K youth from becoming the leaders that they can be, in various domains. Now it is the time to do so.

Steps are being taken by the Modi government to strengthen the grassroots level democracy as it empowers local self-government in J&K in accordance with the 73rd & 74th Constitutional amendments. After a very long gap, Panchayat elections were conducted in J&K peacefully and PM Modi especially praised the local representatives for making villages progressive in many aspects such as providing electricity and making the villages open defecation free. 

Similarly, now the reservations in political offices to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes will be ensured. The representatives, thus, chosen would reflect all sections of the society including socially marginalised communities,  minorities, women and so on.

Curbing corruption

Institutions upholding the accountability of the state government, anti-corruption agencies, penal laws were not applicable in the region earlier. Now, the investigative agencies can take anti-corruption measures and guilty can be brought to justice.

Economic development

The economic opportunities the J&K offers after the abrogation of Article 370 is well-captured in the words of PM Modi. While explaining how J&K became a place for flourishing BPOs and food processing units, he said people from Hindi, Telugu and Tamil film industry need to think about establishing their infrastructure and shooting often in J&K.”

Article 370 impeded people from outside the region from doing business. Lack of investments, absence of economic competition and administrative barriers hindered the entrepreneurial capabilities of the people. Industries and businesses including tourism could not flourish to their full potential. Economic paralysis bred unemployment and frustration among the youth.

With the hurdles in the development process removed, there is unhindered and seamless access to a large market. Large number of investments in the region will help to create jobs for local youth and  ensure their welfare.