‘Ready To Defend Article 35A With Our Blood’

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SRINAGAR  — Protests against the legal challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution — which grants special status to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir — continued in the Valley for the third consecutive day Friday.

In Srinagar, Hurriyat Conference(M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq led a march from the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta till Gojwara, eyewitnesses said.

The protests also took place at scores of places across Kashmir today, police said, adding that the demonstrations remained peaceful.

While appealing people to make shutdown a success, Mirwaiz warned of a mass agitation from August 6 if any ruling comes against the Article 35-A.

“The programme is clear and people should make the shutdown a success. If any ruling comes against the article 35-A the people of Jammu and Kashmir will start a mass agitation from then and there,” Mirwaiz warned while addressing a Friday congregation at historic Jamia Masjid earlier in the day.

“Everyone in Jammu and Kashmir will come out on roads, will stop his business and will put everything at stake,” Mirwaiz said.

He said the people of Jammu and Kashmir will not tolerate any conspiracy be it through parliament or through any other institution.

“Jammu and Kashmir is united. The people in Jammu, Kashmir, Pir Panjal, Chenab valley, Leh and Kargil are all united to thwart any conspiracy to change the demography of the state,” he said.

“We won’t allow anyone to snatch rights of Jammu and Kashmir people.”

Another protest march — led by Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Mohammad Yasin Malik — was taken out after prayers near Bund here, he said. “We are ready to defend Article 35A with our blood,” Malik told reporters while leading the protest march.

Protest marches were also taken out near ‘Dastageer Sahib’ shrine in Khanyar, in Parimpora, Lal Bazar, near Mehjoor Park in Pantha Chowk and Maisuma areas of the city. The protests rocked Kangan and Sonamarg areas of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, as well as in Bandipora town of north Kashmir, the official said.

The traders took out a protest rally in Hari Singh High Street area near the city centre here. The Anantnag traders association took a protest march from Lal Chowk area to Court Road area in the south Kashmir district, he added.

The business community in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district also staged a protest march against attempts to abrogate Article 35-A of the Constitution.

The business community under the banner of Traders’ Association Anantnag assembled at Lal-Chowk in Anantnag town and marched towards Court Road while shouting slogans and holding placards.

The separatists have called for a two-day strike from Sunday in the wake of the legal challenge to the constitutional provision. The business fraternity and civil society formations have lend support to the strike and also gave a protest programme till Monday.

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.

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