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The Jammu and Kashmir State Subjects Controversy of 2004


In 2004, the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly passed the Jammu and Kashmir Permanent Residents Disqualification Bill (the “Disqualification Bill”), which proposed that women who married nonstate subjects could no longer claim state subject status and would thereby lose both preferential treatment in government hiring and the ability to acquire new property in the State. Various political actors decried the Disqualification Bill’s violation of Kashmiri women’s fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution, while proponents of the Disqualification Bill issued apocalyptic pronouncements about the end of constitutionally guaranteed autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir if the Disqualification Bill failed to pass. Arguments for and against the Disqualification Bill fell largely along the lines of a false and dangerous dichotomy, casting feminism and Kashmiri autonomy as inherent opposites.