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Shutdown call over Article 35 A hearing casts shadow on weddings in Kashmir

The local newspapers in Kashmir are flooded with the messages informing the invitees about cancellation of wedding celebrations and feasts.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2018 13:33 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Srinagar,Kashmir,Article 35 A
(Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)

Dozens of weddings in Kashmir scheduled for August 29,30 and 31 have either been scaled down or postponed as the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a bunch of petitions against Article 35 A on Friday.

Separatists have called for a two-day shutdown on Thursday and Friday across the state blaming “BJP and RSS of attempts to change the demography” of the state through legal route.

The local newspapers in Kashmir are flooded with the messages informing the invitees about cancellation of wedding celebrations and feasts.

“Due to prevailing situation in the Valley, the invitation extended for the marriage ceremony of my daughter scheduled for August 30 and 31 is accordingly cancelled. However, Nikah will be held as per the schedule with simplicity,” Ghulam Rasool Zargar of south Kashmir informed in one of the most read newspapers in Kashmir.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a bunch of petitions on Friday against the Article 35 A of the Constitution, which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them. Earlier this month, the state government had moved an application in the court to defer the hearing citing upcoming panchayat and urban local body elections.

Srinagar resident Anees Ahmad, 28, and his family had planned for grand celebrations on his marriage on August 30 and 31 but now, it will be a simple affair with only close relatives and friends in attendance.

“My parents were very excited about the wedding. We had already bought everything including spices for the meal. People had been invited for a grand feast but that has been cancelled now. Relatives called saying that they won’t be able to come on the day. We are very disturbed. But what can be done, the situation is not very conducive,” Ahmad, a businessman in central Srinagar, said.

Ahmad will now take a few of his friends and close relatives to bring his bride home.

Kashmiris cook a multi-cuisine feast called Wazwan on their marriages and invite traditional as well as modern musicians for the celebrations.

Father of a to-be-groom living in north Srinagar said there will be no Wazwan on his side or bride’s side. “I told my son to go, have some Kehwah (a Kashmiri green tea) and bring his bride home. The situation will not be feasible for celebrations and feasts,” he said.

Around 22 people were injured after protesters clashed with security forces even as many parts of Kashmir shut down spontaneously on Monday amid rumours that the top court was hearing petitions against Article 35 A.

Kashmir witnessed complete shutdown on August 5 and 6 coinciding with the last date of hearing in the Apex Court.

There are fears across Jammu and Kashmir that Article 370 and Article 35 A may be scrapped, which will allow outsiders to settle here. While Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Article 35 A disallows people from the rest of India from buying or owning immovable property in the state, settle permanently, or get state government jobs.

Last time the strike was unprecedented. This time also, it will be tense. We don’t want to take any chances,” said Chasfeeda Shah, whose two brothers-in-law will go for a simple Nikah ceremony on August 31.

First Published: Aug 29, 2018 13:30 IST