Context:Ambedkar’s statesmanship is reflected in his sympathetic approach towards the Buddhists and Hindus of Jammu and Kashmir and in his disagreements with the then prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
- Ambedkar was also reluctant to accept Nehru’s advocacy for special status to J&K.
Background of according special status of J&K
- Integration of princely states and role of Sardar Patel
- After the independence Sardar Patel took the responsibility for unifying the nation and accordingly, he integrated 545 princely states to the Union of India.
- Special interest by Nehru in case of J&K
- In a letter to Maharaja Hari Singh of J&K, Nehru explains why the unification acceptance formula extended to all of India is unfit for J&K.
- Demographic composition:The kingdom of J&K was an exception to other princely states since it had a Hindu ruler while a majority of subjects were Muslims.
- Nehru thought that the Muslims of J&K will oppose accession to India.
- Loss of Muslim-league in provincial elections
- The Muslim League, which was pushing the case of Pakistan, had lost the provincial elections to the Congress in the Muslim-majority area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and failed to win in Punjab.
- Nehru’s sidelining of Raja Hari Singh in favour of Sheikh Abdullah
- It is alleged that even though Muslim majority regions had rejected the Muslim League in provincial elections,Nehru saw this as an opportunity to polish his image as a liberal politician.
- This sidelining led to various demands by Sheikh Abdullah:
- Abdullah demanded the prime ministership of J&K.
- He also insisted on a special status for J&K, which provided for a separate constitution and a flag.
- Draft of Article 306:A Legislation to grant special status to J&K
- After the demands by Abdullah,Nehru then asked his confidante, N Gopalaswami Ayyangar,to prepare and move the necessary legislation to grant special status to J&K.
- After consultations with Constituent Assembly members Sheikh Abdullah, Mirza Mohammed Afzal Beg, Maulana Mohammed Syed Masoodi and MotiRam Baigra, Ayyangar came up with the draft of Article 306 A, which provided special status to J&K.
- Article 370:
- On October 17, 1949, when Nehru was in the US, Ayyangar introduced the motion for insertion of Article 306A in the Constituent Assembly.
- The motion was adopted the same day after a brief discussion and later, it was renumbered Article 370 at the revision stage.
- The implementation of Article 370 provided for a separate flag, a separate constitution, self-rule, autonomy and regional autonomy.This also led to creation of some negative outcomes such as separatism.
Ambedkar’s views on special status to J&K
- As chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, Ambedkar had a meticulous approach towards making India a just society and strengthening national integrity and sovereignty.
- Refusal to attend session which accorded special status to J&K
- Babasaheb was reluctant to accept Nehru’s advocacy for special status to J&K.
- On Nehru’s decision to take J&K to the UN
- While addressing the parliament after quitting the cabinet,He criticised Nehru’s foreign policy, especially the decision to take J&K to the UN.
- Ambedkar felt that because of such foreign policy India has alienated herself. And we have left with no countries to second our resolutions in the U.N.O.
- Sympathy with the Hindus and Buddhists of J&K
- He expressed fear over the likelihood of Hindus and Buddhists of Kashmir to be dragged into Pakistan against their wishes after the plebiscite.
- Creating another sovereignty within sovereign India
- B.R.Ambedkar felt the special status provision of J&K will create another sovereignty within sovereign India, which can be detrimental to the unity and integrity of the Indian Republic.
Scrapping of article 370 and road ahead
- After the scrapping of article 370,now the people of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir are experiencing a new dawn of vision-oriented development.
- It has paved the way for the implementation of nine constitutional amendments and 106 other laws in J&K.
- The implementation of legislation, including the Right to Education, Whistle-blower Protection Act, and the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, and ensuring political reservation for the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes, will ensure better life and opportunities for the people.