Indian Administrative Service officer Shah Faesal on Sunday said that repealing Article 35A of the Constitution will end Jammu and Kashmir’s relationship with India, comparing it to a nikahnama, or marriage deed. Article 35A grants special rights to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
“I would compare Article 35A to a marriage-deed/nikahnama. You repeal it and the relationship is over. Nothing will remain to be discussed afterwards,” he tweeted on Sunday. Faesal is currently in the United States on a Fulbright scholarship.
Faesal said that the state’s accession to India took place before the Constitution came into force. “Yes and those who say accession still stands forget that accession was just like a Roka, because the Constitution had not come into force that time,” he wrote. “Can Roka still bind two people together even after the marriage document is annulled?”
The roka ceremony – a pre-wedding ritual observed by the Punjabi community – is considered to be the equivalent of an engagement.
Calling Article 35A a “unique arrangement”, Faesal said that continuing the special constitutional provisions for the state did not pose any threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
Four petitions have challenged the constitutional validity of Article 35A in the Supreme Court on the grounds that it was never presented before Parliament and was implemented on the President’s orders in 1954. The pleas argued that the state became an “integral part of India” once it acceded to the Union, so there was no question of special status or treatment.
The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of petitions and posted the matter for August 27, reported ANI.
On July 11, the Central government started an inquiry against Faesal for some Twitter posts that allegedly violated service rules. The 2010 batch officer tweeted the letter he received from his department, and called for a change in rules that prohibit officers from criticising the government. In one of the tweets cited by the government, Faesal had used the word “Rapistan” to describe the “rape culture in South Asia”.