New Delhi: August 20, 2019. (PCP) Prof.Bhim Singh, Chief Patron of J&K National Panthers Party in his communications addressed to the Hon’ble President of India and the Prime Minister has congratulated them for withdrawing Article 35-A from Chapter-III of the Indian Constitution which had blocked all the roads to fundamental rights for the citizens of India residing in J&K.
Prof.Bhim Singh was addressing a press conference in Chelmsford Club, New Delhi today. He made clear and congratulated the President of India for removing/withdrawing Article 35-A from the pages of the Indian Constitution thus opening entire space in J&K for the flow of the fundamental rights to J&K incorporated in Chapter-III from Article 12 to Article 35. He said it was this Article 35-A which had deprived the Indian citizens (residents of J&K) of fundamental rights from 1954 the day Article 35-A was imposed by the President of India in his Presidential Order in 1954. It was because of this Act (35-A) that thousands of people had to remain in detention without trial for years which included this writer also who spent nearly eight years in detention in J&K without trial.
It was under 35-A, he said, that government of J&K had imposed Public Safety Act in J&K which was responsible to put any political activist in prison without trial for years. He said that he has fought the legal battles for many of the detenus from Jammu and Kashmir who were released by the Supreme Court orders. He, himself was released dozens of time by the Supreme Court of India when detained under this draconian Public Safety Act, 1978. The Presidential Order to withdraw Article 35-A has come in force immediately when it was withdrawn on August 5, 2019. The clear message which people of J&K need to be conveyed that they should demand release of all the prisoners who are under detention under Public Safety Act, J&K in any prison. This message has not been conveyed by the media or by the political activists to the families of those who are under detention under PSA. This fact, I assume, shall be welcomed by every resident of J&K and therefore deserves a clear message from the media about the positive and democratic step that has been taken by the President of India. Article 35-A no more rules the scope of fundamental rights in J&K. The people of J&K must be given clear message through the media or otherwise. The government of J&K can no longer detain those who are still lodged in jails in J&K or elsewhere under PSA.
Another Law which the Parliament of India has enacted to terminate/amend temporary Article 370 deserves a careful consideration by all nationalists/political activists/intellectuals in the country. It also deserves a deep look by the residents of J&K. They should understand that Article 370 was temporary. It was old and outdated. Article 370 had created more misunderstandings than conveying the message in the rest of the country about the great secular-democratic contributions of the people of J&K who had stood for secular and democratic values right since 1947. There were great many Kashmiri Muslim activists like Maqbool Sherwani who had resisted the pro-Pak raiders who attacked J&K in 1947. Kashmir gave its secular message when the Kashmiri Muslim in Kashmir province who were in huge majority stood as one with their Kashmiri Pundit brethren and did not allow anyone to be harmed. It was this secular-democratic-nationalist movement of the people of J&K which stood for national integration. Temporary Article 370 could not have stayed longer than this. But other facts/benefits which people of J&K were assured by the Constitution of India like having permanent residential status, which was earlier known as ‘State Subject’ during Maharaja’s time was a Law enacted by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1927. Article 11 of the Indian Constitution has clearly laid down that all the laws enacted in J&K before the Accession of the State which have not been objected to in the Constituent Assembly shall not be disturbed. The State Assembly of J&K had enacted this Law as residential status.
The Permanent Residents Status has been accorded to all those who had settled in J&K before 1954. The outsiders who were not the residents of J&K before 1954 were not qualified to be Permanent Residents of J&K. This Law was made by Maharaja Hari Singh with a clear intention that no outsider should be allowed to buy/purchase property, land etc. in J&K. The British had an eye on Kashmir and they had moved their offices to Kashmir and most of them wanted to purchase property/land. The Maharaja in consultation with the people of J&K had enacted a Law, ‘State Subject’ banning sale of property/land to those who were not residents of J&K. This way the Maharaja saved the entire land of J&K from being encroached by the outsiders. This Law is unquestionable before any court or legislature. The Parliament of India has no locus to interfere with the Permanent Residents Act, J&K. The government of India has not cleared this situation till today. And much of the reason for chaos in J&K is for this reason. The rumours are spreading fast by the trouble makers which need to be checked in time.
Prof. Bhim Singh has conveyed to the President of India that he may call an urgent meeting of the representatives of different political parties in J&K as recognized by the Election Commission of India so that this message is cleared in the national interest that the present amendment does not interfere with the present Permanent Residents Act. Since media in J&K is almost shut and only the media which is appearing in public with voice of the state shall not clear this kind of confusion and propaganda.
Prof. Bhim Singh, however, made it clear that J&K National Panthers Party and many other J&K local political groups/parties expect a clear message/clarification from the Govt. of India in this regard. The abrogation of Article 35-A and amendment in Article 370 need to be positively conveyed to the people in J&K. Because granting autonomy to Ladakh is not an issue because majority of the people have been demanding for this status for long.
The National Panthers Party has been demanding/asking for reorganization of the state where J&K (other than Ladakh) is granted with twin state status i.e. State of Kashmir & State of Jammu Province. Both the states could have one Governor & one High Court. Besides, twin states could be cleared as confederation of J&K. This was the main resolution floated by J&K National Panthers Party in its convention held in March 2008 in New Delhi, which was attended by many national leaders.
It is, therefore, Panthers Party’s urgent and earnest appeal to the Prime Minister of India to withdraw the decision on converting the State of Jammu-Kashmir (except Ladakh) into a Union Territory. J&K was established in 1846 by Maharaja Gulab Singh. The Dogras, Ladakhies, even the Kashmiri stalwarts have made superb sacrifices since 1947 to defend and protect the identity of the State of J&K which acceded to the Union of India on October 26, 1947 under the seal and signatures of Maharaja Hari Singh. The people of J&K strongly urge on the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi and the Parliament of India to reconsider its decision to convert its status from statehood to a Union Territory. This shall give clear message to the entire people of India and the world that J&K as a State is integral part of the Union of India. This message, he said, shall also go with clear terms to the residents of J&K state residing in POK/Gilgit-Baltistan and other occupied areas that J&K as a state is there and the people in J&K have a clear message for the reintegration of the entire state of J&K.
NPP Supremo cited several names of political parties, including leaders of Panthers Party, National Conference, National Congress, PDP and some others who stand locked up in their own houses in Kashmir Valley as well as in Jammu. Prof.Bhim Singh demanded immediate release/freedom of all such persons who are detained illegally, unconstitutionally and in violation of their fundamental rights in Kashmir and Jammu. He cited the names of those who are detained whose names have also been carried by national press.
Several senior leaders of Panthers Party, Congress and others have been detained in their houses. Several political leaders and social activists from several recognized and nationalist political parties have been detained. Some of them are in jail, police stations and several have been detained in their own houses. Most of them known Panthers Party leaders. In Kashmir Valley not a single Panthers Party leader is allowed to move. All telephones duck. Congress and National Conference even CPI-M leaders have been locked in their own houses. The President of Dogra Sadar Sabha, Mr. Gulchain Singh Charak was detained in his house two days back and State Secretary of Congress Party, Mr. Ravinder Sharma was picked up by police from a press conference at Jammu. So are several detained. Among detained include all state and provincial office bearers as well as district presidents in Kashmir Valley, in districts of Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban and there is no communication with them through telephones/mobiles or otherwise. Prof.Bhim Singh demanded release of all those who are detained or locked up in their houses as fundamental rights in the Constitution of India stands applied to all the residents of J&K since Article 35-A has been removed by the President. He said that no citizen of India could be detained under J&K Public Safety Act as it has ceased to operate after the removal of Article 35-A.