Facts lost in Modi’s high voltage campaign

Omar Abdullah was quick to repudiate Narendra Modi’s claim that Kashmiri women who married outsiders were dispossessed of the rights available to a ’state subject’ under the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

He used Twitter to question his Gujarat counterpart’s claim. But the story of women’s rights in J&K is too complex to be told within a restrictive 140-character format.

If only he had researched better before taking the podium in Jammu, Modi would’ve known, the haze over women’s right (to work, education, inheritance and even adoption) was cleared way back in 2002 by a full bench of the High Court in a case that lasted a quarter century. “The bench held in a majority verdict that a woman’s marriage to an outsider did not make her ineligible to be a subject of the state,” said Justice BA Khan, former chief justice of the J&K High Court.

The facts as they stand showed Modi – who made the averment while seeking a debate on Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 – as being ignoramus of the ground reality. He had shown the arrangement as being discriminatory, giving Omar’s example and that of his sister Sara: “If he marries outside Kashmir, his rights as a citizen remain but not those of his sister (who married the Congress’s Sachin Pilot).”

Certain news reports cited a 2005 J&K law to falsify Modi’s argument. But the Permanent Resident Disqualification Bill, 2004 was meant to overturn the judgement amid protests in the valley that post-martial rights to women could change the State’s demography.

The efforts to negate the Court ruling came a cropper. The Bill ran into trouble in the legislative council on being passed by the bicameral assembly’s Lower House.

The State government’s subsequent special leave petition in the Supreme Court was also withdrawn. Reason: consensus had eluded the coalition regime on the issue that smacked of gender discrimination. But the Kashmir Bar Association’s review petition is pending before the High Court.

So the law that governs the issue is the one laid down by the Court. It stemmed from a bunch of petitions in a case initiated a quarter century ago – in 1978.

Amarjeet Kaur of Kupwara moved the court on being denied her share in ancestral property by her brother. He claimed his two sisters, including the petitioner, lost their right to hold property in Kashmir on account of their marriage to non-residents in Punjab.

Other similarly discriminated women joined the battle when a trial decreed that Amarjeet’s rights as “permanent resident” remained unaffected by her marriage to an outsider. One among them was the granddaughter of a former J&K CM who married into the family of a former Punjab Governor. She petitioned on being barred from pursuing post-graduation in medicine for having chosen to marry an outsider.

Fine details and nuances are often lost in poll-time rhetoric. But a PM hopeful can’t skate over facts to approach an issue as explosive as Article 370.

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  • AA

    For the Sangh Parivar, truth has never mattered when it comes to dealing with any issue that goes against their ideology. All right thinking people know this, including the editor, but shy away from saying it in so many words for obvious reasons. And the people speech-writing for Modi are in fact misleading the poor, pitiable, miserable and ignorant chaiwala.


  • (Dr.) B.N. Anand

    Sharma Saheb, you have a point but what Modi asked for a debate has more national significance. As for as women rights are concerned after they marry someone outside the state, besides the cases you referred, you must have watched last night’s interview ( NDTV) of Mrs. Tharoor, a Kashmiri who while being highly diplomatic in her comments did have the courage to say that woman’s rights in the state after marriage to an outsider have to be debated as there is so much discrimination. She also said her comments will not please her Husband, Mr. Shashi Tharoor, but even at the risk of annoying him, she said what the real facts are on the ground. Moreover what Mr. Modi wants a national debate on 370 because even Pt. Nehru had hoped that this act will die its own death with time. It has not even after 66 years. So is it not the time to introspect and debate the merits of going along with this act. May be the debate also result in the status quo conclusion, but what is the harm in talking about it. The women’s rights issue will also be covered in this debate.
    After all for once, Mr. Modi has raised a point which , though very complicated, still merits being considered seriously for discussion rather than to be rejected as such only because Modi has said it.


  • Rac43

    But there does exist a difference between the inheritance rights of the children of women who marry outside the state vis-a-vis children of men who do the same. Don’t gloss over harsh realities to target Modi.


  • dimple

    I think the Congress should look at Scindia instead of Rahul for leadership. He seems to eb the only cong guy able to get a crowd.


    vijay ! Reply:

    hi Dimple!

    Yes Scindia can create a flutter in his speeches unlike Sonia ji and Rahul ji


  • Dr. B.N. Anand

    Sir, check ur facts. This time, what he said merits attention and debate. Do not simply judge with a close mind.



    JAI SHRI RAM Vinodji you are great hatred towards bjp/modi so not surprised with your comments.i watched many comments of yours in tv and find that you are pro congressman inspite of all scams, non performance.modi said that 370 should be discussed to know whether it is in the interest of people of state of jk which is dominated by anti nationals and anti hindus.wife of Shashi Sunandra had explained her sufferings.people like you never condemned expulsion of hindus from valley, 100 riots in up, appeasent policy of muslims by son called secularists.modi has been nominated best cm for 6th year in succession but you always see him as a vilianit is nothing but misuse of journalism and great disservice to nation.