Article 35A discriminated against women, Dalits: Government

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Schedule Castes Valmikis from Punjab, West Pakistan refugees, Gorkhas and women living in Jammu and Kashmir for the past six decades were suffering as they were not treated as residents of the state, the government said on Monday while explaining why Article 35A (that defined permanent residents of J&K) had to go.
In a booklet issued on the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the government said that the Valmikis (Dalits) living in the state since 1957 were compelled to become sweepers in the Muncipality of Jammu and were not given permanent residence certificate (PRC).
The note said the youth of the community may be qualified as lawyers, doctors and teachers but were only eligible for the post of sweeper in the absence of PRC. The women, too, could not choose their life partner outside the state, said the government, making the Article unconstitutional, discriminatory and biased.
Explaining the problems that were being created because of Article 35A, the government said that Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers who worked in the state could not buy a house even after spending 30-32 years in service. The soldiers who made supreme sacrifice while defending the land on the Jammu and Kashmir border could not even get a piece of land as compensation.
The government said that out of 21 Param Veer Chakras awarded to soldiers fighting at the borders, 16 were awarded in Jammu and Kashmir and 15 of those honored belonged to other states.

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