Article 35A: Rumours lead to clashes in Kashmir

Reports of spontaneous shutdown and clashes between police and stone pelting youths were received from south Kashmir’s Anantnag town and old city areas of Srinagar city

A security personal walks past a vendor during the second day of strike called by separatist leaders against the petitions filed in the Supreme court challenging the validity of Article 35A, in Srinagar. (PTI file photo)
Highlights: 
Article 35-A: a law which bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir
Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a fresh petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and lawyer, Ashwini Upadhyay, seeking scrapping of Article 35-A

Clashes erupted in various parts of Kashmir on Monday following rumours that the Supreme Court has scrapped Article 35-A, a law which bars people from outside the state from acquiring immovable property in Jammu & Kashmir.

Reports of spontaneous shutdown and clashes between police and stone-pelting youths were received from south Kashmir’s Anantnag town and old city areas of Srinagar city.

The Jammu & Kashmir Police issued a statement: “Some sections of the media have circulated news regarding scrapping of Article 35-A. The news has been refuted as baseless. People are requested to remain calm and not to pay heed to these rumours."

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a fresh petition filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, seeking scrapping of Article 35-A.

However, the main case, which is based on a plea filed by We the Citizens, an NGO, in 2014 in the apex court is likely to be heard on August 31. Separatist leaders in Kashmir have called for a shutdown on Friday and Saturday to highlight the public support for Article 35-A.

A slew of petitions challenging Article 35A in the Supreme Court has led to tension in Kashmir, where both mainstream and separatist leaders fret demographic changes if the legislation is struck down from the Constitution.

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

Separatists, mainstream parties, including the regional NC and PDP, traders, lawyers, civil society members and residents in the restive region have threatened a massive protest in case the apex court revokes the law.

Article 35-A bars citizens from other parts of the country from acquiring immovable property in the state, taking up jobs with the state government, availing state-sponsored scholarships, or settling permanently anywhere in the state. Its genesis can be traced to a Dogra-era legislation when restrictions on outsiders buying land were put in place through the Permanent Residents Act. 

The Article was subsequent to the 1952 Delhi agreement, between the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the then head of state Sheikh Abdullah, which dealt with the extension of Indian citizenship to the "state subjects" of Jammu & Kashmir.

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Article 35A: Rumours lead to clashes in Kashmir

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