Interacting with a delegation of refugees from west Pakistan on Thursday, BJP state president Jugal Kishore Sharma said that not only Article 370 but also Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution, made applicable to the state in 1954, was responsible for their miserable life.
The refugees' delegation met with Sharma to seek the party's support for their demand for citizenship rights, including the right to own immovable property, right to service under state government, right to vote in and contest assembly and local-bodies' elections, and right to higher and technical education.
Sharma told the delegation that the Congress government of Nehru subverted the basic structure of the Indian Constitution in May 1954 to deprive all Indian citizens, including refugees settled in Jammu province, of their fundamental right to exercise all rights in the state.
"While making unjust distinctions between Indian citizens inhabiting states barring Jammu and Kashmir, plus refugees from west Pakistan settled in Jammu, and the so-called permanent residents of the state, the Nehru dispensation also made sure that the permanent residents of Jammu & Kashmir shall exercise all rights all over India," he said, and added that "the Nehru government amended Article 368 without taking the Indian Parliament into confidence to add to Article 35 the highly obnoxious Article 35-A which was enforced in the state through the Constitution (application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, May 1954".
He reassured the delegation that the BJP would take up their issue in a big way both in the state and at the Centre, as it was committed to protecting the fundamental rights of all sections of society.