Afsana Rashid, Indian administered Kashmir

State subject certificates issued to women in Jammu and Kashmir (India) have to be renewed after marriage.

The certificate issued carries the stamp “valid till marriage only.” She has to apply afresh after her marriage, meaning thereby that all women are temporary residents of state, till they marry.

If a woman happens to marry non-resident, she ceases to be state subject. All her rights that she would enjoy being a citizen of state are ceased. Her husband and children can’t inherit her property. Men, on other hand, can marry non-resident women. Consequently, she acquires status of state subject.

More than five years back State Assembly passed Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill, 2004 barring status of state subject to women marrying outside state. Generating controversies, the bill later went in abeyance.

It was passed with the aim to restore special status to state, according to article 370, which states non-state subject can’t acquire land or other benefits.

A negligible percentage of women married outside state, in past. Due to mass exodus of Pandit [Hindu] population and migration of certain Muslim families in late 1980’s [due to the conflict here] compels to re-think over this landmark decision.

Women married to non-state subjects, either willingly or because of circumstances, stand dislocated even if migrated families return to their homeland.