Guwahati: The Supreme Court hearing on the much-debated Article 35A has been adjourned till August 27 amidst widespread protests from Kashmiri separatists, which have enforced a statewide shutdown, and several other organisations.
The Apex Court was to hear a petition filed by a number of organizations, including an NGO -“We the people”, which have links to Right Wing organisation- Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which have demanded to revoke this article.
The controversial Article 35A prevents “outsiders” from:
- Settling permanently in the state.
- Buying immovable assets.
- Availing state-sponsored scholarships
Both the Kashmiri separatists and the right-influenced cumulation that is demanding to scrap the Article have their arguments in place. The separatists believe that revoking Article 35A would lead to right-wing groups changing the demography of the state and eventually nullifying the “controversial nature” of the state they have guarded for decades; while they who have moved the court seeking revocation of the Article allege it as illegal as it was implemented by the President in 1954, without being presented before the Parliament. The provision appears as an “appendix” in the Constitution and not an amendment under the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order-1954.
The situation in Kashmir has remained grim as usually during shutdowns. Although Kashmiris are very much acquainted with such shutdowns, some said that they have not witnessed a one such intense in decades. The fear of “people from outside” settling in the state has been fed so extensively to the Kashmiris, that they ensured deserted roads of Srinagar. Even the Shikaras of Dal Lake did not venture out.
Separatists who command mass appeal in the state have threatened mass agitations if any attempt is made to dilute the “disputed” status the state enjoys.
We are ready to shed our blood for safeguarding our rights. Attempts are being made to remove Article 35A through the legal route, and we are not going to tolerate it,” said Kashmir Economic Alliance chairperson Yasin Khan.
People’s Democratic Front, which was till recently an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party has also been holding rallies in support of the Article 35A. Party Chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that parties have kept aside their political differences and united in supporting the Article.
Although the protests against the revocation of Article 35A remained mostly peaceful, given the situation of the state which might turn violent in no time, the Amarnath Yatra was suspended. Minor incidents of stone-pelting have been reported.
The hearing on the controversial Article was scheduled to take place today but it has been adjourned till August 27. Chief Justice of India cited the absence of Justice DY Chandrachud as the reason behind this delay because a two-judge bench can’t hear it.
Supreme Court adjourns hearing petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A which empowers J&K state's legislature to define 'permanent residents' of the state and provide special rights to them. SC to hear the matter on August 27. pic.twitter.com/gIvVe0BGnn
— ANI (@ANI) August 6, 2018
As per the people, Article 35A has become like Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be”, with proponents like the Joint Resistance Leadership of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik championing their views that this Article is their “right” which they should safeguard, while the BJP holds that the Article has become a hurdle in the development of the state as it hinders outside investment.