HCBA says Kashmiri nation must show unity
Srinagar: Under the banner of the Bar Association, lawyers took out protest marches across Kashmir on Friday to show their united resolve to defend Article 35A that grants Jammu and Kashmir special Constitutional powers.
Reports from Budgam said that scores of lawyers took out a march from the district court complex, raising pro-Article 35A slogans. Several lawyers including Bar Association’s district president Muhammad Ashraf Shah addressed the lawyers, making them aware of the ramifications if the Constitutional provision was removed.
In Baramulla, lawyers at various places across the district held protests. A large number of lawyers took out a protest rally from outside the district court complex, carrying placards and banners, such as, “Save Article 35-A, Save Your Identity”.
President of the Bar Association Baramulla, Abdul Salam Rather, said that the lawyers’ body will resist any conspiracy to abrogate Article 35A or Article 370.
Lawyers in Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian districts held protests in their respective areas. In Anantnag, lawyers led by district president Fayaz Saudagar took out a protest march from the court complex to Lal Chowk area of the main town and back.
The lawyers held placards and banners with messages like, “Save 35-A, Save Kashmir,” and shouted slogans, “Yeh Watan Humara hai, Iska faisla hum karengay.”
In Pulwama, lawyers held protest demonstrations inside the court complex before dispersing for the day’s work. They carried placards and banners along with them.
In main town Shopian, members of the Bar association took out a protest march from the court complex to Jamia Masjid in Gol Chowk area of the town.
The lawyers were led by district president Abdul Majeed Mir.
The protesting lawyers held banners with messages like, “Removing Article 35A against the UN resolutions” and “Demographic change in Kashmir not acceptable.”
Several lawyers also held a sit-in inside the J&K High Court Srinagar where Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association president Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom said, “Many attempts were made to abolish the law but they failed. Again an attempt has been made but the legal fraternity will show no compromise at all.”
“The aim to scrap the permanent residentship law in Jammu and Kashmir is to settle outsiders here… they will be given jobs, and rights to own land here,” said Qayoom addressing the lawyers.
The joint resistance leadership had asked lawyers to hold protests today against the legal challenge to Article 35A in the Supreme Court of India. The apex court was scheduled to hear the petition challenging 35A on August 29 but has now deferred it after J&K government sought more time to respond.
Qayoom explained as to how former ruler of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh, had enacted the law that forms the basis of Article 35A. “The state subject law was implemented in 1927 after an issuance of notification by Maharaja (Hari Singh) which defined who was a permanent resident of J&K,” he said.
He said that Maharaja Hari Singh categorised the residents of J&K for issuance of permanent resident certificate. “It was decided that the people who lived here and had immovable property in 1846 were declared as Class I citizens and those who were allotted land and allowed to live here after that were called Class 2 citizens. It was done in 1916.”
The Bar president said that those who had ownership of land for the last twenty years in J&K in 1916 were categorised as Class 3 citizens and likewise Class 4 citizens were also defined.”
Qayoom insisted that the Kashmiri nation must show unity. “It is need of the hour,” he said.
At Srinagar’s Lal Chowk, scores of activists from Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front staged protests against attempts to abolish Article 35A.
Addressing the protestors, JKLF’s Abdul Rashid Sheikh lashed out at Government of India for “trying to change” the nature of the Kashmir dispute by using judiciary.
“India wants to pave way for Tata, Birla and Ambanis so that they can take control of our tourist destinations and bring Kashmiris on roads. India has started working on Israeli-type settlements here and the aim is to enforce a blockade here just like Israel did in Palestine,” he said.