kashmiri women

Kashmiri girls perform folk dance in traditional dresses on the eve of a 3-day Saffron festival organized by the Department of Tourism and the Department of Agriculture at Duso Pampore in South Kashmir`s Pulwama district on Oct. 29, 2013. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI — It is a strange anomaly of history, both true and unjust. I was born in Srinagar, as were both my parents. My sister though was born in Delhi and went on to marry a Bengali settled in the capital, so struck down by a double whammy.

Yes, she is not a state subject and could till Aug. 5 not buy any property in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. At the very kernel of this affliction is Article 35-A which has denied the women of J&K of their right to property on marrying outsiders as also putting limitations on the constitutional and educational rights of their children.

Ironically, such exclusionary provisions do not apply to the men marrying outsiders.

In Jammu-Kashmir: If a Kashmiri woman marries a person of any other state of India, Kashmiri citizenship to that female ends! In contrast if a Kashmiri woman marries a person from Pakistan that person will get citizenship of Jammu and Kashmir. It is akin to providing Indian citizenship to a Pakistani.

This abomination of gender injustice was supposedly settled by a full bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court in the case titled State and others versus Dr Susheela Sawhney and others in October 2002 by striking down the proviso of the state subject (permanent residency) law according to which women marrying outsiders would lose their permanent resident status," former advocate general of Jammu and Kashmir government Ishaq Qadri said in January 2019.

However, the Jammu and Kashmir Permanent Resident Status (Disqualification) Bill 2004 was passed and made it a permanent political propaganda. Hence, even after court's interference gender discrimination stayed.

A plea filed by Charu Wali Khanna challenges the legal validity of Article 35A and also the provision in the J&K Constitution which makes this special provisions loaded against local women marrying outsiders. Article 35A, added to the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of the J&K, and empower the state legislature to frame separate laws for the state.

"Section 6 of the J&K Constitution restricts the right of women to marry a man of their choice by not giving the heirs any right to property if the woman marries a man not holding a Permanent Resident Certificate," the petition said. Holder of a non permanent resident certificate in the state can vote in Lok Sabha elections, but a woman who marries an outsider cannot even vote in local elections, it added.

Her children are denied a permanent resident certificate, thereby considering them illegitimate — not given any right to such a woman's property even if she is a permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir," the plea, filed through advocate Bimal Roy Jad, said.

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