Srinagar: A complete shutdown is being observed in Kashmir and parts of Jammu region against “legal assault on J&K’s autonomy” ahead of the hearing in Supreme Court of India on petitions seeking scrapping of Article 35A.
A three-member bench of the India’s top court is scheduled to hear the petitions at 2 p.m. today..
Shops and business establishments are closed across the Valley while all kinds of transport is off the roads due to the strike called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik. The strike has been called against the “attempts to change the demography of J&K and insidiously destroy its disputed nature as has always been on the agenda of BJP/RSS.”
“The challenge to Article 35A in the Supreme Court is a part of that plan,” they said, adding, “Once hereditary state subject laws are done away with it will pave way for settling outsiders in J&K in hordes. And as part of the BJP/RSS plan Kashmiris will become a minority in their own land and that day will not be far when like Palestinians, Kashmiris will be pushed to the margins of their land and rendered homeless.”
A Delhi based NGO, ‘We the Citizens’ have filed a petition against the constitutional safeguard. There were other petitions clubbed to it relating to the special status of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and theses plea challenge vires of Articles 35-A, 370 of Constitution of India and Section 6 of the Constitution of J&K.
Article 35A empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents
The state government has filed an application before the Registrar of the Supreme Court, informing that it is going to seek adjournment of the hearing of the petition in view of the “ongoing preparations for the upcoming Panchayat and urban local body and municipal elections in the state”.
The government has deployed police and paramilitary forces in strength at vulnerable places in the city and elsewhere in Kashmir, the official said.
Various organisations included Bar Association, transporters and traders’ bodies and others have extended support to the shutdown call of the JRL.
Protests have been held across the length and breadth of Kashmir over the past few days with mainstream parties like the National Conference and PDP also holding rallies in support of continuing Article 35-A.
“On August 5 and August 6, a complete protest strike will be observed throughout the state and people will register their total disapproval and resistance to this politically motivated move,” the JRL had said.
They have said that “a mass agitation of hitting and occupying the streets will be launched if any tinkering with 35A is allowed to take place under a legal garb, the consequences of which will be entirely on those perpetuating such mischievous ploys against people of J&K.” (filed picture used for illustration)