Rumours of the Supreme Court hearing fresh petitions against Article 35A triggered violence in downtown Srinagar, Anantnag and Pulwama on Monday morning when protesters indulged in pelting the security forces with stones. The police resorted to cane-charging the protesters and bursting teargas shells to disperse them.
Shops and business establishments in the separatist strongholds were shut down, and the authorities decreased the speed of mobile internet across the Valley as a precaution.
The police had a tough time making the people understand that no decision had been taken on validity of the Article 35A, and that the petitions would be heard only on 31 August.
In a message posted on the social media, Additional DGP (Law and order) Munir Ahmad Khan said: “A rumour is being spread by miscreants that hearing of Article 35A case in the Supreme Court is today. This is not a fact. We will investigate all these rumour mongering cases and deal with the culprits strictly.”
The J&K Police tweeted: “Some sections of media circulated news regarding Article 35A. The news is refuted as baseless. People are requested to maintain calm & not to pay heed to rumour. The main hearing is on 31st August.”
While tension prevailed in parts of the Valley on the issue of Article 35A, life remained normal in Jammu and Ladakh where demand has been raised for scrapping the Constitutional provision that does not permit people from other states of the country to own property in J&K. People in Ladakh are demanding union territory status for the area.
Article 35A gives powers to the state legislature to define permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and their privileges. Petitions challenging Constitutional validity of Article 35A have been listed for hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday.
Governor Satya Pal Malik has engaged Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehra to defend the Article.
Meanwhile, separatists have called for a general shutdown on Friday and Saturday to highlight the public support for Article 35A.
(With agency inputs)