Srinagar: The representatives of 27 Kashmir-based trade and industry bodies, including Kashmir chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), on Monday presented a united front to protest against any attempts made to abrogate Article 35-A and tamper with the special status of the state.
The representatives also backed a two-day strike call given by separatists from August 5 to protest against an alleged ‘politically-motivated move’ to abrogate Article 35-A.
The strike call by separatists and concerns raised by most of the Kashmir-based trader and industry bodies comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court (SC) hearing two petitions challenging the validity of the Article 35-A on August 6.
Appealing the apex court to dismiss the petitions challenging the validity of Article 35-A, the representatives of the bodies, including KCCI, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), said the case ‘was adding fuel to Kashmir unrest and fiddling with the constitutional provision would be catastrophic’.
“This Press Conference has been necessitated today to exhibit our unity in protesting the attempted onslaught on our hereditary state subject law. We are accompanied by the representatives from cross section of the society comprising the civil society formations including business chambers and federations, transporters, tourism fraternity, horticulturists, industrialists, academia and other social, religious and cultural organizations,” the representatives of the business fraternity and other organizations told reporters during a press conference.
“We are ready to face bullets in order to protect the special status of the state. It will be an all out war if Centre scraps the Article 35-A. It is a matter of life and death for us,” KTMF president, Muhammad Yaseen Khan said.
Mr Khan said business community be it traders, hoteliers or transporters are ready to sacrifice their lives to protect the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Government is using all dirty tactics to take away over special status but we won’t let that happen,” he alleged.
“Our state subject laws have been under attack ever since a PIL was filed by RSS backed NGO “We the Citizens” and admitted by the supreme court of India that challenges the validity of Article 35-A of Indian constitution. It needs to be reminded that Article 35-A affords a protective shield to the hereditary state subject law of Jammu and Kashmir that is in existence since 1927,” the representatives told reports.
They said after admission of this petition, the Supreme Court also took cognizance of four other petitions filed by various groups and individuals and clubbed all these with the main petition. “History is witness to the fact that Article 35-A was enacted in the constitution of India in the year 1954 and since then several petitions were filed by different groups and individuals to challenge this Act,” they said.
They said all such petitions used to get dismissed before their admission by the SC only because of the prompt and appropriate defense by successive Governments at New Delhi.
However, they said this time a situation has arised when Government of India has bizarrely declined to defend their own provision of the constitution as it has not filed any Counter to the said PIL. “This speaks volumes about the complicity of GOI in the attempt of removing or tinkering with the Article 35 A,” they said.
They said the worry among the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir to resist against the attempted onslaught is very much justified. “Let us make it amply clear that the hereditary state subject law of Jammu and Kashmir shall be protected at any cost even on the lives of the citizens and no tampering with this law would ever be tolerated,” they said.
“All necessary steps would be taken to get the nefarious PIL filed by RSS backed NGO dismissed at the earliest in order to save themselves from its political ramifications and consequences. This matter is related to the life and death of the people of Jammu Kashmir and we all are ready to spill our blood to safeguard this law,” they said.