Kashmir Symposium - Panel 5: Democracy and Constitutionalism,

Kashmir Symposium - Panel 5: Democracy and Constitutionalism,

Tuesday, 30 November 2021 - 3:00pm
Online - Zoom
Jinaly Dani (Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy)
Kevin James
Pranay Modi (Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy)
Mona Bhan (Syracuse University)
Haley Duschinski (Ohio University)
Faisal Devji
Arghya Sengupta (Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy)
Understanding Kashmir and the Abrogation of Article 370: law, History and Politics

‘A Biography of Article 370’
Jinaly Dani (Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy) , Kevin James and Pranay Modi (Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy)

‘The abrogation of 35A: the afterlife of the Permanent Residents Law in Kashmir’
Mona Bhan (Syracuse University), Haley Duschinski (Ohio University) 

Since 2019, Narendra Modi’s Hindu supremacist government has fulfilled promises to its right-wing nationalist base by unilaterally orchestrating sweeping constitutional changes to eliminate Kashmir’s special status -- actions that constitute illegal annexation under international law. On August 5, 2019, the BJP government initiated a multi-pronged military approach for the final and complete annexation of the portion of Kashmir occupied by India. Long recognized as one of the most highly militarized and yet invisibilized conflict zones in the world, Kashmir has been under an intensified military siege since August 2019, when the Government of India initiated the revocation of the special status of the autonomous State of Jammu & Kashmir — an action with potentially devastating consequences for Kashmiri identity and community. Even though Article 370 had been hollowed out over the years through presidential orders that had extended India’s constitution to the state (Noorani 2011), the constitutional article had provided Kashmiris a semblance of “constitutional security under which they manage[d] their limited autonomy and religious liberty” (Farooq and Javaid 2020: 5). In the absence of a plebiscite, Article 370 had operated as a constitutional marker of the region’s special semi-autonomous status in the Indian federation due to the prolonged nature of the unresolved international dispute. Our paper moves beyond an analysis of Article 370 to focus on the abrogation of Article 35A, also known as the Permanent Residents Law, with particularly devastating consequences. Article 35A was introduced through the 1954 presidential order to continue the prior provisions of territorial regulations under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. It authorized the J&K legislature to define permanent residents of the state and to restrict non-permanent residents from buying property, holding permanent jobs, or receiving educational scholarships in the state. The abrogation of Article 35A has essentially opened up the region to non-Kashmiri residents. Based on archival and interview research, our paper examines the history of Article 35A in its sociolegal context to highlight its role in shaping Kashmiri identity, belonging, and citizenship.


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