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As Supreme Court defers Article 35A hearing, separatists say protests will continue

Apart from separatists, mainstream political parties, civil society groups, trade bodies and lawyers had supported the shutdown call for two days and warned of mass agitation in Kashmir if Article 35A was abolished.

india Updated: Aug 06, 2018 20:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Article 35A,Supreme Court,Kashmir shutdown
Apart from separatists, mainstream political parties, civil society groups, trade bodies and lawyers had supported the shutdown call for two days and warned of mass agitation in Kashmir if Article 35A was abolished.(Waseem Andrabi/ Hindustan Times)

As Supreme Court deferred the hearing of the case pertaining to Article 35A to the last week of August, Kashmir observed a complete shutdown as separatists said protests will continue.

Apart from separatists, mainstream political parties, civil society groups, trade bodies and lawyers had supported the shutdown call for two days and warned of mass agitation in Kashmir if Article 35A was abolished.

The case pertains to the questioning of the validity of Article 35A that gives Jammu and Kashmir legislature the right to define permanent residents of the state.

The top court said it will hear the petitions from August 27 after the state government sought an adjournment on the grounds of the upcoming elections to local bodies.

Very few vehicles were seen on the roads and people preferred to stay indoors as offices and markets remained deserted.

Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in full strength to avoid and law and order situation.

The strike, called by various social and religious organizations, disrupted the life in some areas of the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri along with Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban districts in the Chenab valley region, officials said.

A shutdown called by local organisations also disrupted life in Kargil and adjoining areas in Ladakh region, the officials said.

However, no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the strike-hit districts.

Police foiled a protest march of Kashmir Economic Allaince (KEA) towards United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOGP) and arrested several members of the alliance.

The members of the alliance, an amalgam of dozens of trade bodies, were carrying placards and banners in support of the Article 35A.

“The intensity of the strike shows that people in Kashmir are really worried about Article 35A and we can go to any extent if the Article 35A is abolished “ warned vice president KEA, Tariq Ahmad Mughloo.

Meanwhile, separatists have said that protests will continue and termed petitions in Supreme Court as mischievous and backed by RSS, the ideological mentor of BJP.

Former J-K chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said that even though the deferment of the hearing on Article 35A was not a solution, it had brought interim relief to the people.

“But with uncertainty looming over its status, it has unleashed a wave of anxiety and panic amongst the people of J&K,” she tweeted.

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said that state’s future lay within the Constitution of India.

“Kashmir has shut down to protect a provision of the Indian constitution. When was the last time anyone was able to frame that headline? #Article35A,” Abdullah tweeted.

He however said protecting Article35A is a tacit acceptance that J&K’s future lies within the Constitution of India, otherwise how would it matter if it were struck down or diluted?

For past few days, the Valley has been witnessing a series of protests, including in Kargil and some parts of Jammu region.

Except BJP, all mainstream parties have been supporting Article 35A. BJP has said that it will abide by the court ruling on the issue.

First Published: Aug 06, 2018 20:32 IST