Srinagar, Aug 4: Ahead of August 6 Supreme Court hearing on petitions challenging Article 35A of the Constitution, Jammu and Kashmir braced for street protests and a two-day strike over the sensitive issue.
The National Conference (NC) and its arch rival PDP today took out separate protest rallies in Srinagar. The separatists and mainstream leaders have called for dismissing the PIL before the Supreme Court.
MLA Khanyar Mohammad Sagar led hundred of party workers, carrying banners and placards, from the NC headquarters Nawai-e-Subah to Sher-e-Kashmir park.
One of the banners read, “If there are no Articles 35A and 370, then there is no accession (of Jammu and Kashmir to India)”.
The PDP also took out a rally from its office near the Sher-e-Kashmir park. Led by NC general secretary Nizamuddin Bhat and MLA Khursheed Alam, the protesters marched towards Lal Chowk but were stopped by the police.
Meanwhile, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) have called for a two-day shutdown on Sunday and Monday across the state.
According to a Hindustan Times report, posters and video clips issued by separatists and social media organisations explaining Article 35A’s importance and dangers if it is repealed have been making rounds on social media.
The Jammu and Kashmir government yesterday approached the apex court seeking adjournment of the hearing, citing local body elections in the state.
The state “…Will be seeking adjournment in the matters on August 6 on account of the ongoing preparation for the upcoming panchayat and urban local body and municipal elections in the state of Jammu and Kashmir”.
The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) also moved the Supreme Court on Friday in support of Article 35A. After the CPI(M)’s Jammu and Kashmir unit, the NC moved the present petition seeking to be heard in the present matter, saying that the Article serves as an important link between the state and the Union and its people and serves to maintain a fine balance of constitutional federalism.
The apex court is hearing a batch of petitions in the matter, including the one filed by NGO ‘We the Citizens’ seeking quashing of the article, which confers special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
The matter is listed for hearing on Monday before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state.
The provision, which leads such women from the state to forfeit their right over property, also applies to their heirs.
Political parties including the National Conference and the CPI-M, have moved the Supreme Court in support of the Article 35-A that empowers the state assembly to define “permanent residents” for bestowing special rights and privileges to them.