Day 4: Major sections of Kashmir society protest for Article 35-A
Srinagar: National Conference Women MLA's , MLC's and senior Leaders holding banner and placards while shouts slogans during protest march against the attempts of revoking of article 35A and 370, in Srinagar on Saturday, August 04, 2018. PTI Photo by Umar Ganie
Srinagar, Aug 04: Protests over Article 35-A intensified on Saturday, with people from different walks of life taking to street against its possible abrogation. Leaders of two main political parties of Kashmir—National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party—took out protest marches from their headquarters here towards Lal Chowk. However, the police stopped them near Polo View. Leading the protest, National Conference’s General Secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar, said, “Assault on Article 35-A is a direct assault on the state’s special status. It will not be tolerated at any cost.” “All political, social and religious organisations of the state are united in their resolve to fight against these ploys, and J&K National Conference will fight this battle from the front lines,” he said. “We have filed an intervention plea in the Supreme Court asking to be included as respondents to the petition challenging Article 35 A.”
“If there is any tempering with Article 35 A, it will have serious consequences,” Sagar warned in his speech. He asked the Attorney General of India to reject all the petitions that challenge the Article 35 A. “This is not any anti-national Act. We will defend this Act,” he said, adding that NC leaders and workers held rallies in all districts of the state. The protesting members demanded quashing of the petitions filed in the Supreme Court against the Article 35 A, which are to be heard by the Supreme Court on August 6. Senior National Conference leader Mohammad Akbar Lone said they were ready to give “sacrifices” to defend Article 35-A. “We will not allow any tempering with it,” Lone said. Another NC leader, Mubarak Gul said this Article was safeguarding the people of all three regions of the state. “All are united to defend it,” he added. The PDP also took out the protest rally led by Nizam-ud-din Bhat, Khurshid Alam, and Rafi Ahmad Mir. They said Article 35 A was the only bridge between India and the state. They said the forces in New Delhi were “trying to break these bridges”. They said that state subject law has to be “protected at any cost and no tampering with this law would not be tolerated”. While chanting pro-Article 35 A and pro-Kashmir slogans, Bhat said, “We demand immediate dismissal of article 35 A hearing in Supreme Court. If not than every single member of the party in the state is with the people of Jammu and Kashmir to fight.” “We are hopeful that decision will be in our favour. It will be darkest day if there is any tempering with it and we are ready to fight for its protection,” Mir said. He claimed that PDP was formed to strengthen Article 35 A. Alam said the government of India should refrain from tinkering with Article 35 A. “Our leader Mehbooba Mufti has already made New Delhi aware about its consequences,” he added. Protests were also held by several traders associations. In Srinagar’s Colony, Tourism Trade Fraternity also held a protest, seeking dismissal of petitions challenging the Article in the Supreme Court. Jammu and Kashmir Joint Coordination Committee of Private Schools also held a protest seeking dismissal of petitions. They were carrying placards that read: “Save Article 35 A, save your identity, we will protect and save article 35-A.” All India Rahul Gandhi Fans Association led by Peerzada Mohammad Shafi also held a protest. “We will defend this Article at any cost,” he said. Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Youth Federation also protest against its onslaught. Students of several educational institutions also held protests against the onslaught of Article 35 A. Students of Amar Singh College held massive protest against Shopian killings and seeking dismissal of petitions in the apex court. Students of Degree College Bemina also held protests and warned of serious consequences against any tempering with Article 35 A. Meanwhile, All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) has taken strong exception to the activities of a “fringe group that is trying to erode the autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir by recommending abrogation of Article 35-A that gives special status to the people of state”. In a statement, APSCC Chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina said that majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir want that no dilution of Article 35-A takes place. He said that a “handful want the Article 35 to go”. “We will give a befitting reply to the fringe group,” he said. “People irrespective of caste, colour, religion and region have voiced their resentment over the attempts being made to abrogate Article 35-A. This unity should be an eye-opener for the fringe group and they should desist from their moves. People of Jammu and Kashmir have a distinct identity and they cannot compromise about it,” Raina said. Raina asked the people to remain steadfast and be united against the moves aimed to abrogate Article 35 A. Joint Hurriyat Leadership has already called for shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 and 6 in protest against the “politically-motivated move”. Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has asked their cadres to ready for a mass-agitation in case the Article 35A was tampered with. The CPI (M) has filed an intervention application in a writ petition challenging Article 35 A in the Supreme Court.