Art 35-A row: Life crippled in Kashmir

Indian paramilitary troopers patrol in front of the Jamia Masjid grand mosque on the second day of strikes called by Kashmiri separatists against attempts to revoke articles 35A and 370 in downtown Srinagar on August 6, 2018. AFP

Normal life in Kashmir remained crippled for the second consecutive day on Monday due to the strike called by separatists against the ‘assault’ on Article 35-A that guarantees hereditary special citizenship rights to the people of J&K and bars non-state residents from buying land and applying in various government jobs in the State.

The Supreme Court (SC) is scheduled to hear on Monday a number of writ petitions challenging Article 35-A. A Delhi based NGO, ‘We the Citizens’ had filed a petition challenging the validity of Article 35-A in 2014. The case is listed at serial number 6 before court number 1, known as the chief justice’s court.

Terming the PIL as a move to change the demography of J&K and to change the Muslim majority character of the state, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik had called for a two-day protest and shutdown call against the petition. The first day of the protest and strike evoked an exemplary response as normal life across the Kashmir remained crippled on Sunday. 

The strike was also observed in Jammu region’s Chenab Valley that includes Poonch, Rajouri, Doda and Banihal and parts of Kargil district of Ladakh, reports said.

The J&K government led by Governor N N Vohra has already submitted a plea in the apex court seeking adjournment of the petition against Article 35-A. Its standing counsel, Shoeb Alam, has already written to the Apex Court registry on Friday that he will seek adjournment of the hearing.

Contrary to the expectations of J&K government, New Delhi has refused to take a stand on the issue and told the Court it wants a 'larger debate' on the Article as part of the Indian Constitution.

With all eyes set on the apex court now, for the first time, state police chief Shesh Paul Vaid said that peaceful protests against petition seeking abrogation of Article 35-A , will be allowed.

On Monday, the intra-Kashmir train service remained suspended while ongoing Amarnath yatra from Jammu to the cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas also remained suspended for the second day on Monday due to protests and strike.

Protests have been held across the length and breadth of Kashmir over the past week with mainstream parties like the National Conference and PDP also holding rallies in support of continuing Article 35-A.

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Art 35-A row: Life crippled in Kashmir

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