Article 35A: Civil Society Group Threatens Mass Stir

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SRINAGAR — A leading civil society group in today threatened mass agitation across Jammu and Kashmir if Article 35A of the Constitution, which is facing a legal challenge in the Supreme Court, was tinkered with.

The Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society Coordination Committee (JKCSCC), which claims to have members from all three regions of the state– Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh– is an intervener in the case in the apex court.

The JKCSCC said if the constitutional provision which relates to the special rights and privileges of permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir was removed, the relation of the state with the Union will be broken.

If anything is done to Article 35A, the relation with India will be broken there and then. If that happens, there will be a mass agitation,” Muzaffar Shah, a member of the JKCSCC told reporters here at a joint press conference with other members of the civil society formation.

“We will come out on the roads right from Lakhanpur (the gateway to the state in Jammu region) to Leh (in Ladakh region of the state)… There will be bloodshed. Then peace will not be established, he added.

He, however, expressed hope that the SC would dismiss the petition filed by an NGO.

Suhail Kazmi a member of the group from Jammu said the constitutional provision was an issue of the identity and dignity of the people of the state and it was the duty of every citizen to safeguard it.

The people of Jammu region will bear the maximum impact if it goes away. We are with the people of Kashmir on this. The people of Jammu want Article 35A and Article 370 to remain intact, he said.

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