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Article 35-A: Protests intensify as hearing draws near

Srinagar, Aug 29: As scheduled date for hearing on Article 35-A draws near, Kashmir is witnessing an increase in the protests from various sections of the society.

Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on Article 35-A on August 31, the day when the valley will be observing a shutdown on the separatists’ call.

On Wednesday, nearly half a dozen protests were held in Srinagar by multiple organisations, which expressed resentment against any move to tinker with the article.

Trade bodies, which included Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) and Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) said the people were ready to protest and sacrifice their lives to protect the article.

The traders associations had assembled at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk to protest against the Centre for “facilitating the abrogation of Article 35-A.”

“People are apprehensive of their fate and ready to sacrifice everything to safeguard their existence.”

Another trader’s amalgam, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) rallied towards High Court, who however was intercepted at Jahangir Chowk by the police.

“We are ready to spills our blood on streets in order to protect the identity of Jammu and Kashmir,” Farooq Ahmad Dar, president KEA said.

Employees Joint Consultative Committee (EJCC) said they will intensify their protest ahead till the petition is dismissed by the Supreme Court.

“If Article 35A would be abrogated, Kashmir will become second Palestine and we will be thrown out from our own homeland,” President EJCC, Aijaz Ahmad Khan said.

A symbolic protest was held by Jammu and Kashmir Peoples RTI Forum at Press Enclave in which protestors organised a street play to raise awareness among people.

“The abrogation of this Article 35-A will leave our qualified youth jobless. It’s high time that we should resent any such move,” said a protestor who was performing an act.

Jammu and Kashmir Revolutionary Forum also held a protest, demanding unity among people to defend the act.

The mainstream politicians said that their stand will also harden incase the Supreme Court announces any judgment against the retention of Article 35-A.

“The judgment should be categorical and crystal clear. We are waiting for August 31 as till now we have defended it legally, politically and at the societal level as well,” General Secretary National Conference Ali Mohammad Sagar said.

Lawyers association, which has also supported the two-day strike call given by the Joint Hurriyat Leadership, warned of mass agitation in Kashmir if Article 35A was abolished.