TDN World Desk: “The scrapping of Article 370 and rights granted to the people of Jammu and Kashmir is a slap on Indian Democracy and the values of the Constitution,” said Labeed Shafi, president of Student Islamic Organisation of India (SIO). 

On Monday, BJP government has announced its decision to revoke Article 370, a decision which was criticized by Congress, TMC, CPI(M) and several other opposition parties as well.  

This abrupt move by the BJP government has also drawn mixed reaction from the students’ bodies. While Right wing students’ outfits has spoken in favour of abrogating Article 370, there were students’ outfits from the lefts and a number of other secular parties who objected the move. Student Organisation of India, the largest student body of India representing the Minority community in India expressed grave concern about the fate of Jammu and Kashmir as BJP government made its unilateral decision to nullify article 370. 

“Today the Government of India unilaterally decided to revoke Article 370 and Article 35A. The decision will sabotage Indian Democracy and is a clear violation of Human Rights. These provisions were included by the then Prime Minister Nehru after a long negotiation with the people of Kashmir and Kashmiri Leader Sheikh Abdullah, ” said Shafi. 

The student body allege that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has been peddling a wrong narrative  

For a long time that the people of Jammu and Kashmir enjoy a special status over and above that of Indian citizens. 

“A part of this propaganda is that Kashmiris have some sort of ‘dual’ citizenship and that the rights of Kashmiri women are trampled under Art 370. Based on this propaganda vigilante groups and Hindutva affiliated outfits have unleashed a spate of violent attacks against Kashmiris living in other parts of India. Today, the BJP government has latched onto the same propaganda to nullify Art 370 and the rights given to Kashmiri people under Article 35A.”  

“The truth is that the special status of Kashmir under Art 370 is not an exception but a feature of the Indian constitution. Similar special status has been given to various other states, including Nagaland, Manipur and Assam. Special privilege with regards to property is also given to residents of states like Himachal Pradesh. This does not mean the residents of these states have dual citizenship or that the constitution of India does not apply to them. It merely means that these states have a unique regional and cultural identity which they wish to protect, and the constitution of India recognizes their right to protect and promote their language, customs and culture,” SIO cites in the press statement issued on Monday. 

The student body is of the opinion that scrapping of Art 370 and 35A, that too without any process of consultation with the people of the state will only serve to further the trust deficit between the government of India and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. 

“The government of India must restore the provisions of Article 370 & 35A, and take immediate steps to build trust among the people of Jammu and Kashmir. This decades-old conflict cannot be solved by deploying more soldiers in the valley or trying to forcefully change the demographics of the state. Any honest effort must begin with dialogue, the rebuilding of trust and the restoration of a democratic process,” the statement reads.