National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval’s assertion that a separate constitution for Jammu and Kashmir was probably an “aberration” was an attempt to “distort” facts and history, CPI(M) MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami claimed Thursday. “J&K acceded to India under the guarantees provided by the Constitution of India. It is the constituent assembly which incorporated Article 370 in the Constitution providing a constitutional basis for the relationship of J&K with the Union,” Tarigami said in a statement here.
He said Article 370 was the only article of the Constitution of India which directly applies to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is not a temporary provision but part of the basic features and structure of the Constitution, the CPI(M) leader said. He said at the time of partition in 1947, except J&K, all other states acceded to India by signing the Instrument of Accession without any condition or terms. These states became units of India accepting the Constitution of India totally, he said.
Jammu and Kashmir was the only state which negotiated the terms of its membership, he said. As part of this negotiation process, the relationship of the J&K State with Union and constitutional machinery was a subject of prolonged and protracted discussion and debate between the Union and state leaders, he added. Tarigami said J&K was the only state to declare its intention to have its own constitution drafted by its own constituent assembly, as far back as 5th March, 1948.
“At the time of partition and after, it was free to accede to Pakistan or India, or to become an Independent country. But it decided to accede to India on specific terms, despite being a Muslim majority state,” he said. He said the present “unrest” was essentially the result of erosion of the autonomous status provided under constitutional provision of Article 370 to J&K.
“The remedy lies not in attempting distortion of history which can only compound the crisis further. It is in the interest of the state and the country that the political leadership go through the history of broken promises and restore the eroded autonomous status of the state,” he added. Tarigami claimed NSA Doval’s assertion that a separate constitution for Jammu and Kashmir was an “aberration” was an attempt to distort facts and history.
On Tuesday in New Delhi, NSA Doval had said that having a separate constitution for Jammu and Kashmir was probably an “aberration” as he stressed that sovereignty can never be compromised. Speaking at the launch of a book on Vallabhbhai Patel, Doval paid glowing tributes to the first home minister of India, saying he made significant contributions in laying a strong foundation of the country.
Doval said sovereignty “cannot be a diluted and ill-defined”, and added that when the “British left, probably they did not want to leave India as a strong sovereign state.” In this context, he said Patel could see through the plan of the British to sow seeds of disintegration in the country.
“His contribution is not about the merger of the states, it is only a means to an end. The thing was that to make a sovereign state in which there was the sovereignty of the people was established in the Constitution, which is applicable to the whole of it. Probably with Jammu and Kashmir, where the Constitution was…in a truncated form…another constitution of J&K continued to exist, which is aberration,” Doval said at the event at Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), a think-tank.