Civil society holds protest over Art 35A

The Tribune

Civil society holds protest over Art 35A

Ishfaq Tantry

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 25

Members of the civil society and separatists on Saturday staged peaceful protests in Srinagar in support of Article 35A. The constitutional provision which protects the hereditary state subject law is scheduled for hearing in the Supreme Court next week.

The Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society Coordination Committee (JKCSCC), a group of civil society members from Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir, on Saturday threatened to hit the streets if Article 35A was revoked or done away with.

“I am sure the Supreme Court will dismiss and throw away the bunch of petitions challenging Article 35A in the next hearing. But let me make it clear that the people of J&K from Lakhanpur to Uri to Leh will hit the streets if the Article is revoked,” said Zaffar Shah, Awami National Conference vice-president and Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society Coordination Committee member.

Demanding restoration of autonomy, ID Khajuria, president, J&K Forum for Peace and Territorial Integrity of State, said 94 Presidential Orders had been passed so far to “infringe on the federal autonomy” of Jammu and Kashmir.

Khajuria, who is also a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society Coordination Committee, accused the BJP and RSS of attempting to divide the state on communal and regional lines. He said the challenge to Article 35A was part of that agenda.

Meanwhile, various political groups, including activists of the joint resistance leadership, on Saturday staged a silent protest in Srinagar and sat on a hunger strike to support Article 35A.

Trade union leader Sampat Prakash, who participated in the hunger strike, said as a member of the Kashmiri Pandit community it was his “responsibility to raise his voice against the growing threat to hereditary state subject laws”, protected by Article 35A.

The issue should not be touched, says Aiyar

Srinagar: Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday said Article 35A should stay in the Constitution so that people in J&K do not feel that their 90-year-old right had been snatched. Aiyar was in Srinagar to attend a seminar ‘Discussion on J&K and Indo-Pak relations’, organised by the Centre for Peace and Progress. “I say this issue (Article 35A) should not be touched. It is in the Constitution. Nobody should even try to remove the Article,” he told reporters in Srinagar. He said “this issue is being unnecessarily whipped up” and was not in any one’s interest. TNS