Article 35A gives special rights to the Jammu and Kashmir’s permanent residents, but denies certain rights to people from outside the state.
Srinagar: Kashmir will shut down on Monday in protest ahead of today’s hearing in the Supreme Court on a batch of petitions challenging the validity Article 35 A of the Constitution. The Article guarantees special privileges to the state.
Kashmir shut down on Sunday too and it was complete.
People of Kashmir fear that after the Assam experiment, the state’s special status will be revoked through a legal route.
On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear a bunch of petitions against the Article 35A 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. The state government has asked the Supreme Court to defer the hearing citing upcoming panchayat and urban local body elections.
Four petitions – three clubbed with the main one filed by NGO We The Citizens – have challenged Article 35A’s legality on the grounds that it was never presented before Parliament and was implemented on the President’s orders in 1954. Under the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954, the provision appears as an “appendix” in the Constitution and not an amendment.
Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had called for a two-day shutdown on Sunday and Monday across the state blaming “BJP and RSS of attempts to change the demography” of the state.
They warned of launching a “mass agitation of hitting and occupying streets” if Article 35A is “tinkered” under a legal garb.
Roads and markets wore a desolate look in Kashmir’s summer capital of Srinagar. Shops were closed and public transport off the roads amid heavy deployment of security forces in sensitive places.
Even the Dal Lake’s iconic Shikaras (leisure boats) lay moored in the jetties.
State authorities suspended movement of Amarnath Yatra convoys from Jammu to Kashmir owing to the shutdown even though the pilgrims present in Kashmir were allowed to move towards the cave shrine from the two base camps.
The strike call has been supported by many organizations including trade, travel and tourism bodies and civil society members across the spectrum who have also threatened of mass protests.