Ajit Doval sparks controversy by calling J&K Constitution an "aberration"
With petitions pending in the Supreme Court against Article 35A, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has sparked controversy by calling the J&K Constitution an "aberration" in the constitutional scheme of India. Speaking at the launch of a book on Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Doval added that the sovereignty of India could never be compromised. Here's more on what he said.
The controversial J&K Constitution and Article 35A
For those unaware, J&K adopted a separate Constitution in 1956, and is the only Indian state to have a Constitution separate from the one that binds the rest of India. Meanwhile, Article 35A of the Indian Constitution is a clause that allows the J&K state assembly to determine the state's permanent residents, and bestow special rights and privileges on them.
What Doval said at the book launch
At the launch event, Doval said that the J&K Constitution was born out of a ploy by the British to ensure barriers to India's sovereignty. "They [the British] probably did not want to leave India as a strong sovereign state," said Doval. Taking a big 'One India' stance, he added that India's sovereignty "cannot be diluted and ill-defined."
Doval's opinions on nation building
Elaborating on his statements, he explained that nation-building was an "exothermic process" that generates a lot of heat. Unless this 'heat' is generated during the early years of nation building, it is not possible for separate identities to be melted and merged into one, Doval further said, implying that such was the case during India's Independence movement.
Doval: Cost of Independence wasn't understood by the people
"Probably the heat was not sufficiently generated during our Independence movement because of the route that was taken. I am not criticizing that...the non-violence was the route in which the cost of Independence was not really understood by our people," were Doval's exact words.
J&K leaders miffed by Doval's comments
Understandably, Doval's comments miffed J&K leaders. Former CM Mehbooba Mufti said that Article 35A served as bridge between J&K and India, and any attempts to dismantle it would lead to an J&K being alienated from India. Meanwhile, J&K National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal said that Doval's "silly" comments were an insult to the Parliament and the "great leaders" who formulated India's Constitution.