11, Nov 2019 | Gayatri Korgaonkar
Three months after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the former state of Jammu & Kashmir was split into two separate union territories on October 31, 2019. While a significant number of changes are being seen in the region following this bifurcation, there is a lot of baseless information spread over the internet in a factoid-like form.
A case in point is this Twitter thread shared by user Avinash Srivastava:
The contents of this thread have been copy-pasted over multiple sites, such as through Facebook posts by self-proclaimed ‘nationalist’ and public speaker Pushpendra Kulshrestha, a page called Crime Patrol Samba, another named Free Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Pok, responses on Quora, etc.
CJP stands with the Kashmiris. After the abrogation of Article 370, they saw a clampdown on their fundamental rights, the press was gagged and the state suffered a massive communications shutdown. We stand against the human rights violations the citizens have had to face during this time. To help us advocate for their safety and rights, please donate generously here.
This tendency of blindly forwarding information without looking into the reliability of the content results in a blurring of lines between the real and the fake.
In this article, we run a fact check on some of the claims made in the thread:
Claim: No Dual Citizenship will be applied, only Indian Citizenship will be valid
Misleading. The state of Jammu & Kashmir never had its own state citizenship. While the concept of dual citizenship (one of the state and one of the union) exists in other Federal Constitutions, it has never been applied in India. The misinformation probably arises from the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir offering a ‘permanent residents’ status to non-Kashmiris living in the state.
Claim: State Government will have limited authority, Law & Order will be Centre’s jurisdiction.
True. Post the bifurcation, the state government of Jammu and Kashmir ceases to exist, and two union territories (UTs) of Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh are created in its place. UTs generally have less governing power than states.
Under Section 32 of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, the J&K Legislative Assembly may make laws for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with respect to any of the matters enumerated in only the State List except those concerning “Public Order” and “Police”.
Claim: J&K assembly decisions will seek Government of India’s nod.
False. Except for the overriding powers of the Parliament mentioned earlier, the legislative assembly of Jammu & Kashmir has complete authority to enact legislation. A bill passed by the assembly will be presented to the Administrator for his/her assent, who may reserve it for the consideration of the President. This isn’t too different from a state Governor’s power of reserving bills, however.
Claim: Rule of People born before 1911 having Citizenship will stand null and void.
False premise. Under the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, all persons born or settled within the state before 1911, or becoming resident for not less than ten years or prior after having lawfully acquired immovable property were defined as “permanent residents” of the state.
Under that Constitution, those who moved away from Jammu and Kashmir and their next two generations, including those who migrated into Pakistan, were considered state subjects. Nullifying the state Constitution implies that this consideration will likely be lost. But the permanent residents will still have their Indian citizenship.
Claim: Kashmir will not have separate flag, Only ‘Tiranga’ will be applicable.
True. Under the special status that was granted to the state by Article 370 of the Constitution of India, the State of Jammu and Kashmir was permitted to fly its own state flag in addition to the national flag from 1952. Its official status came from Article 144 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
The J&K administration stopped hoisting of the region’s separate flag in Srinagar’s Civil Secretariat on August 24, 2019.
Claim: State can’t decide on ‘Permanent Resident’ status, all citizens in the states will be considered equal.
True. With the nullification of the State Constitution, the ‘permanent resident’ status created under it would also cease to exist.
Claim: Right to Information (RTI) will be applicable in all aspects and for all.
False. The State has had their own Right to Information Act since 2004, a year prior to the Central RTI Act.
Claim: Right to Education will be applicable on people from all segment.
Misleading. RTE is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. Fundamental rights have been applicable in J&K since before the reorganisation.
Claim: Economic Reservation (EWS) 10% quota will be applicable by default.
Misleading. Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004, which governs reservations in the state, was amended much prior to the presidential order so as to provide 10 per cent reservation to the economically backward class.
Claim: Reservation of 16% for Minorities, H’indus and Sikhs will be applicable.
False. Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 provides reservation to SC, ST and socially-backward classes. While an Ordinance had extended the benefits of reservation to people living in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, there is no special reservation for minorities.
Claim: ‘Hindi’ & ‘English’ will become the official language instead of ‘Urdu’.
False. Neither the Reorganisation Act nor the Presidential Order made any references to changing the official language of the State.
Claim: Pakistanis won’t get citizenship by marrying Kashmiri girl.
Misleading. Under India’s citizenship law, a person who is married to an Indian citizen, and who is ordinarily resident in India for seven years can apply to acquire indian citizenship.
Claim: Indian Constitution Laws (IPC) will be applicable now across J-K & Ladakh instead of RPC.
Confusing. The Indian Constitution will be applicable to the newly designated union territory. IPC generally refers to the Indian Penal Code. As per the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, the Ranbir Penal Code, criminal legislation specific to the state, does stand repealed and replaced by the Indian Penal Code.