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Hari Singh’s descendant joins debate on Art 35 A

SP Sharma | Jammu |

Even as controversy over Article 35A rages in the state as elsewhere in the country, Martand Singh, great-grandson of the last ruler of Jammu and Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh, surprised many by remarking that the Constitutional provision of the Article was discriminatory towards women.

Joining the debate on the controversial Article 35A, Martand Singh in his tweet while elaborating the “flaws” described it as a roadblock for investment and economic growth of the state besides being discriminatory against women.

He said that opposition was not to the special status but to practices emanating from 35A. Failure of state legislature to address issues had led to the current scenario, he added.

Meanwhile, National Conference spokesman Junaid Azim Mattu tweeted: “The deferment of the hearing on petition challenging Article 35A doesn’t remove the sense of anxiety and the apprehensions in J&K. In the absence of the Central Government defending the Article through a counter affidavit-the challenge to the state’s special status remains”.

A woman social activist, Manu Khajuria, in her argument on the issue sought review of the “gender biased” interpretation of Article 35A and permanent residential rights for women at par with men. “If men’s permanent rights are not curtailed when they marry a non-state subject, let it be the same for women permanent residents.”

Notable, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said: “Even though the deferment of hearing on Article 35A is not a solution, it has brought interim relief to the people of J&K. But with uncertainty looming over its status, it has unleashed a wave of anxiety and panic amongst the people of J&K”.