Shutdown In Support of Article 35A Brings Life To Halt In Kashmir

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SRINAGAR — The strike called Joint Resistance Leadership in support of Articles 35A and 370 of Indian constitution on Wednesday affected life across the Kashmir Valley.

Article 35A, incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, confers special status to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir, and bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the state. Article 370 gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Shops and other business establishments were closed while public transport was mainly off the roads, reports said.

In Srinagar city and other district towns in the Valley, reports and residents said, there was deployment of government forces at several places to prevent protests.

The strike by the JRL comprising both factions of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq respectively besides JKLF headed by Mohammad Yasin Malik comes as the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear various petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A and Article 370 tomorrow. However as per the cause list issued at around 1900 hours, the cases are not listed.  

The state government has filed an application before the Supreme Court, seeking adjournment of the hearing till a elected government is established in the state.

As many as five petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court against Article 35A, with the lead case filed in 2014 by a little known Delhi-based NGO, ‘We The Citizens’.

Besides these cases, a Special Leave Petition is also pending disposal before the top court that was filed after Delhi High Court dismissed a plea against Article 370.

“On the day of listing, the undersigned shall be requesting for an adjournment in the mater since presently there is no elected government in the state of J&K and the state is under President’s rule,” reads the state government’s application through its standing counsel advocate M Shoeb Alam.

in the application, the government has said the matter involves a “sensitive issue” regarding a challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution of India. “A short reply has been filed by the State of Jammu and Kashmir in the lead matter (We The Citizens) and notices have not been issued in the other petitions. It will therefore be requested that the matter may kindly be heard when an elected government is in place,” reads the state government’s plea. “The letter may kindly be circulated to the Hon’ble judges so as to avoid inconvenience to them,” the application says.

On July 17, 2018, the Supreme Court had referred the cases to a 3-judge bench. The top court on August 31, 2018, deferred the matter to January 2019 after the Government of India and Jammu & Kashmir, then under governor rule, cited law and order issues and sought deferment of hearings till the local Panchayat and local polls in the state were over.

 No Strike Today: JRL

  Joint Resistance Leadership on Wednesday withdrew strike call against hearing of 35A case in Supreme Court of India on Thursday. The announcement was made by the JRL after the lawyers conveyed to the leadership that in the cause list issued by the top court at 7 pm today the cases are not listed for hearing on Thursday.

The Kashmir Bar Association led by senior lawyers Mian Qayoom, Zafar Shah, Zaffar Qureshi, Mohd Ashraf and others are in New Delhi defending the case at the Supreme Court on behalf of the people of J&K. “They are in touch with the leadership,” they said.

The JRL said the senior lawyers will be present at the Supreme Court for the whole day tomorrow as well and will closely monitor the case and update the leadership about it. The Leadership reiterated that people of Jammu and Kashmir will forcefully resist every challenge by New Delhi to change the demography of the State and warned the authorities that if anything adverse to the interests of the people of J&K and its disputed status is announced through the courts a mass people’s agitation will be started instantly across the state and the responsibility of the consequences of that will be entirely on “those forcing us to react.”

 

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