Traders, tourism, youth organisations hold protests at Press Enclave
Srinagar: Political opponents Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) both held demonstrations on Saturday to demand that the petitions challenging Article 35A of the Indian Constitution in the Supreme Court be dismissed immediately.
In Srinagar, senior PDP leader Nizamudin Bhat led the party’s protest demonstration against the hearing on 35A listed for Monday in the Supreme Court. Several leaders and party members participated in the protest and marched from the party office towards city centre Lal Chowk. The march was later intercepted by security forces and the protesters turned back.
“Our first priority is to defend and protect the Constitutional laws. Any kind of attack on these basic laws will not be tolerated at all. Neither we nor any other mainstream political party has ever attempted to go against Article 35A,” said Nizamudin Bhat at the gathering.
Bhat said that Jammu & Kashmir is already in a state of instability. “Attempts to revoke Article 35A would lead to a long resistance. The results could be worse than they already are in Kashmir,” he said.
“We will protect the state subjects’ rights at any cost. We will sacrifice ourselves if needed,” Bhat said. “We demand immediate dismissal of the Article 35A hearing in the Supreme Court. If it is not done, then every single member of the party is with the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their fight.”
Talking to Kashmir Reader, senior PDP leader Rafi Ahmad Mir said, “Every citizen of the state is ready to defend Article 35A. If it is harmed by any means, it would be the beginning of a dark age in Jammu and Kashmir.”
The National Conference held protest demonstrations at all district headquarters. In Srinagar, NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said that an assault on Article 35A was a direct assault on the state’s special status.
“All political, social and religious organisations of the State are united in their resolve to fight against these ploys and J&K National Conference will fight this battle from the front lines. We have filed an intervention plea in the Supreme Court asking to be included as respondents to the petition challenging Article 35A,” Sagar said.
“We will continue to evolve a wide consensus across the state against those overt and covert powers that are hell-bent on undermining the state’s special status,” he said.
In Srinagar, NC leaders Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, Mubarak Gul, Shamima Firdous, Muhammad Akbar Lone, Muhammad Sayeed Akhoon, Salman Ali Sagar, Tanvir Sadiq, Sabiya Qadri and various party functionaries participated in the protest.
In Anantnag, the NC’s South Zone president Bashir Ahmed Veeri along with senior party leaders participated in a protest march. In Baramulla, senior party functionaries and constituency heads took part in the protest demonstration.
The J&K Tourism Trade Fraternity (TTF) also took out a protest march in Srinagar against “tinkering with state subject laws” and demanded the petition to be dismissed.
Representatives and members of more than 20 organisations part of the TTF assembled at Jhelum View Park and marched towards Press Enclave Srinagar, chanting anti-India and pro-35A slogans. The protesters carried placards and banners which read, “Interference with Article 35A unacceptable”, “Dismiss the petition challenging Article 35A”.
TTF spokesperson Abdul Rouf Trumboo said that they “condemn” the Article 35A hearing in Supreme Court listed on Monday. “We are about 40 percent of the state population and every one in our fraternity is ready to give his life for the sake of Article 35A,” Trumboo said. “If the petition is not dismissed, there will be a political turmoil in the whole state. We appeal to the Supreme Court of India to dismiss the petition against Article 35A.”
The Jammu and Kashmir Joint Coordination Committee of Private Schools Association, the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Youth Federation, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industries Kashmir also held protest demonstrations at Press Enclave Srinagar against attempts to revoke Article 35A.
Wahid Sultan, President of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Youth Federation, said, “People across the state feel deeply concerned over this issue as J&K acceded to India under guarantees provided by Article 35A.”
Mohammed Shafi Khan, Vice-President of Chamber of Commerce and Industries Kashmir, said, “We traders’ bodies are fully supporting the shutdown call given by the JRL for 5th and 6th August. We are ready to sacrifice our lives to safeguard Article 35A.”
With inputs by Arif Rashid