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Art 35-A challenge: Complete shutdown observed in Kashmir, Chenab

 Srinagar, Aug 05: Life in Kashmir Sunday came to a complete standstill due to a complete shutdown observed by all sections of the society against the legal challenge in the Supreme Court on the validity of Article 35-A, which bars people from outside Jammu and Kashmir from acquiring any immovable property in the state.

Shops and business establishments were closed across the Valley while all kinds of transport remained off the roads due to the strike call.

 

The shutdown, on Sunday and Monday, was called by the Joint Hurriyat Leadership as Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a PIL challenging the validity of the Article 35-A on August 06 (today).

The state government has filed an application before the Registrar of the Supreme Court, informing that it is going to seek adjournment of the hearing of the petition in view of the “ongoing preparations for the upcoming Panchayat and urban local body and municipal elections in the state”.

On Sunday, government forces were deployed in strength at vulnerable places in the city and elsewhere in Kashmir for maintaining ‘law and order’.

The situation across the valley remained peaceful with no untoward incident reported from anywhere so far although people strictly adhered to the shutdown call, the effect of which was totally visible from deserted lanes, markets and rolled down shutters.

Various organisations included Bar Association, transporters and traders’ bodies, and several other civil society members had already extended their support to the shutdown call.

Protests have been held across the length and breadth of Kashmir over the past few days with mainstream parties like the National Conference and PDP also holding rallies in support of continuing Article 35-A.

People in Tral township of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district Sunday protested against the attempts being made to abrogate Article 35-A, which grants special privileges to residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

People on early Sunday morning staged a protest at main town. Carrying placards and banners, the protesters were chanting slogans against scrapping of Article 35-A.

The protesters cautioned that any attempts to abrogate Article 35-A would lead to widespread protests in the valley and any fiddling with the constitutional provision would be catastrophic.

The protest march later culminated peacefully.

Protests were held amid a complete shutdown in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday against any attempt to abrogate Article 35-A.

Reports said that shutdown was observed in Banihal, Khari and Gool areas of the district,

Shops and other commercial establishments were closed while traffic was off the roads.

Markets in Banihal on the highway and in adjoining villages of Nowgam, Tethar, Chareel Kaskoot and Dooligam were also closed.

In Gool, scores of men held a protest against any move to tinker with the constitutional provision.

Train services were suspended in Kashmir on Sunday in view of a strike called by separatists, a senior railway official said.

He added the services would remain suspended on Monday as well given the apprehension of ‘law and order’ problem in the valley.

 

People’s unity heartening, says Joint Hurriyat

Srinagar, Aug 05: Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik on Sunday said that unequivocal, united and unanimous verdict by the people of Chenab valley region, Pir-Panjal Region, Kashmir valley to Kargil against “planned attack” on the identity and distinctiveness of Jammu Kashmir in the garb of Article 35 A, should serve as an eye opener for rulers and policymakers.

The spokesman in a statement while terming the unity among the people of Jammu Kashmir on state subject law and unprecedented protest as heartening, leaders said that on the leadership’s call people in Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Baderwah, Kishtwar, Kargil to Kashmir valley staged exemplary protest against moves intended at abrogating or tinkering with the hereditary state subject law in the garb of 35 A.

The spokesman said that through this exemplary protest people of Jammu Kashmir have raised their voices against any move or act that is intended to wane, weaken, abrogate or tamper with the identity and distinctiveness of Jammu and Kashmir and have in unequivocal terms and with one voice announced their verdict that no resident of Jammu Kashmir will accept any such move or judgment.

Joint Hurriyat, the spokesman added, said that though the police chief of Jammu Kashmir has announced to allow protests regarding Article 35A but from Saturday evening, police and other forces started a fresh spree of “nocturnal raids”, arrests and other measures.

“Police, as usual, have kept ailing veteran leader Syed Ali shah Geelani under House arrest and have placed leader Mirwaiz Muhammad Umar Farooq under house arrest too. Police last (Saturday) evening raided the residence of Yasin Malik who already had gone into hiding to evade arrest,” the spokesman said.

He claimed that the police have also arrested or house-arrested many other leaders and activists including Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Ghluam Nabi Sumji, Agha Syed Hassan, Hilal Ahmad War, Bashir Ahmad Rather (Boya), Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar, Bilal Ahmad Sideequi, Hakim Abdul Rashid, Molvi Bashir Ahmad, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash, Muhammad Yasin Ataie, Fayaz Ahmad Mir, Syed Imtiyaz Haider, Bashir Ahmad Butt, Muhammad Ashraf Laya, Muhammad Ishfaq Khan and others while as police raided many others houses too.