???????Kashmir Unites To Protect Article 35A  

Civil society organizations, business, trade bodies take to streets in Srinagar  

SRINAGAR — Civil society organisations and business and trade bodies Thursday kept up their protests against the petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of Article 35A of the Constitution.

Article 35A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the Jammu and Kashmir citizens and denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state.

Read:  Article 35A Removal Can Reopen Accession Debate

About 200 members of the Jammu and Kashmir Trade Union staged a peaceful sit-in at the fruit mandi in Parimpora area on the outskirts of the city here, a police official said.

Civil society members, including members of the minority Pandit community, later staged a sit-in at Pratap Park in the heart of the city.

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The protesting traders were joined by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik and its leaders.

A member of the Pandit community and a trade union leader Sampat Prakash said it is a “matter of shock and surprise” that the Supreme Court has admitted the pleas challenging the validity of Article 35A.

“How come Supreme Court (SC) can reopen the case after 48 years even after large bench of the top court has already unanimously decided to protect the Article 35-A,” he said, adding, “I have to rise up as I was the first person who defended the Article 35-A. It has to be saved and the French revolution like situation will arise in the State in case of any fiddling with the Article 35-A.”. 

Prakash said that the Kashmiri Pandit leaders have also fought for it. “It is sacred for us,” he said, adding that it is a conspiracy hatched by the Hindu nationalists in India headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

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Prakash said that every Kashmiri is ready to fight against any tinkering with Article 35-A.

He backed the call for a strike on August 5-6given by the separatists and appealed to the people to make the protests a success.

Read: Centre Should Defend Article 35A

Later in the day, the business community took out a protest march in Shahr-e-Khaas (downtown) area of the city.

The protesters dispersed peacefully, the police official said.

The protests have intensified ahead of a Supreme Court hearing, scheduled for August 6, on petitions demanding that Article 35A be repealed.

The main petition demanding scrapping of Article 35A was filed before the apex court in 2014 by an RSS-linked NGO ‘We the Citizens’.

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