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No support in Jammu and Kashmir agitation for retaining Article 35A

SP Sharma | Jammu |

Even after invoking the erstwhile Dogra rulers of Jammu and Kashmir, the Kashmir-centric political parties and separatists have failed to get any support in the Jammu region for their agitation against any “tinkering” with the Article 35A that bars rest of Indians to acquire property in the state. A bunch of petitions against the validity of the Article 35A is listed for hearing in the Supreme Court on 6 August.

Former Chief Ministers, Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, separatists Syed Alishah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have threatened of unrest in Kashmir if any “tinkering” was done with the Constitutional provision. Kashmir based trade organizations have also supported the call for agitation.

Their hype in favour of the Article 35A has exposed the double face of the Kashmir-centric leadership that was tooth and nail opposed to the doors of J&K being opened for residents of other states of the country to acquire property here which they allege would “alter demography of the state”.

However, they have remained mum on the issue of large number of Muslim migrants of Bangladesh and Rohingyas illegally settling down in Jammu and Kashmir. They have also been opposing granting state subject rights to a few hundred Hindu families that migrated to various parts of Jammu from West Pakistan 70 years ago during the partition of the country.

The top separatists, Geelani, Mirwaiz and Yasin Malik, have given call for two days shutdown on 5 and 6 August when the case would come up before a 3-member bench of the Supreme Court. Governor NN Vohra is reported to have told the centre to get hearing of the case postponed till the time a duly elected government took over reins of the state to put forth its view-point in the
court.

People of Jammu and Ladakh have been demanding scrapping of such laws that smack of separatism and were hurdle in complete integration of the state with rest of the country.

Mehbooba Mufti, who had during the PDP-BJP regime rejected the demand for state holiday in memory of the last ruler Maharaja Hari Singh who signed accession of J&K with India, during her rally here on Monday tried to garner support in favour of retaining the Article 35A by claiming that the state subject law was introduced by the then Dogra rulers. Similar arguments were also being given by certain leaders of the National Conference.

Those who have filed the petition against the Article 35A have claimed that the procedures for amendment of the Constitution of India under the Article 368 were not followed while adding the Article through a Presidential Order on 14 May 1954. Article 370 does not anywhere confer on the President legislative or executive powers so vast that he can amend the Constitution or perform the function of Parliament, they claim.