Separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, who have come together under one umbrella of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), met in Srinagar on Sunday to “assess the situation in the wake of the hearing on Article 35A in the Supreme Court on August 6.”
They called for a shutdown on August 5 and 6 in the Kashmir Valley in protest.
“Tampering with Article 35A is an attempt to change the demography of J&K. [The] people of Kashmir will not take this attack lying low and [it] will be stiffly resisted,” said the separatist leaders in a joint statement.
J&K Governor N.N. Vohra has asked the Centre to defer the hearing on Article 35A, which grants special rights to people here.
The J&K Civil Society Coordination Committee (JKCSCC), Deputy Grand Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam and Awami National Conference president Muzafar Shah said they would “not allow Kashmir to become another Palestine and render the local population homeless”.
The National Conference (NC), the Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) also warned the Centre.
“Any tinkering with it would turn the State into a veritable inferno,” said PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, as she called for a united front of all political parties in J&K to protect the Article.
Former Chief Minister and NC president Farooq Abdullah said his party “won’t allow the powers…to fiddle with our political status and honour.” Mr. Vohra, administrative head of the State after the PDP-BJP government parted ways in June, has suggested the Centre “to defer the hearing until the elected government is in place in the State, where the sensitivities and sensibilities on the provision are quite high.”
“The request by the Governor to New Delhi to defer the hearing is the need of the hour. Both the Centre as well as State governments can make a request to the Supreme Court to adjourn the case because there is no democratically elected government in J&K,” said CPI (M) leader M.Y. Tarigami.
At least three petitions have challenged the Article in the SC.
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