Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (M) chairperson Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told Kashmir Reader onMonday that the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) is not only devising a strategy to resist the “possible abrogation” of Article 35A but is also exploring options if “God forbid, the article is abrogated”.
In an exclusive chat with this newspaper regarding the special status accorded to J&K state in the Indian Constitution, Mirwaiz, who is also Kashmir’s chief priest, said, “Our current negotiations with trade and other civil society organisations are not only about strikes and protests but also about strategising the future course of action.”
“It is not about Hurriyat Conference cadres and leaders but involving all people and communities of J&K from the Valley to Ladakh to Chenab and Pir Panjal,” he said. “The good thing is that people from Jammu have also started voicing their concerns about the abrogation of Article 35A and its ramifications.”
Mirwaiz, who along with Syed Ali Geelani and Yasin Malik heads the JRL, said: “If the Article is removed, there will be a massive public response… the agitation will be very organised.”
He said that the JRL was in touch with legal experts and Kashmiri diaspora on the issue. “Our legal luminaries are exploring the options as to how abrogation of Article 35A could be challenged. What the diaspora can do and as a country what Pakistan can do, all these issues are being deliberated and discussed… We are holding deliberations with Hurriyat Conference representatives who are in Pakistan,” he said. “Our deliberations are not just restricted to protests.”
The Mirwaiz said that special citizen rights and privileges to people of Jammu and Kashmir have been granted on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC). “It is here and on the other side (of LoC) as well,” he said of the restrictions on outsiders on buying land in the state of undivided Jammu and Kashmir.
Mirwaiz said that Pakistan can do certain things that the Hurriyat Conference cannot. “Some issues can’t be taken up by us but a state can do so,” he said. “Now we are exploring where we can fight this issue… maybe at the international level as well.”
He said that Article 35A was “not about the legality of accession”.
“Pro-India political parties have not been able to uphold anything for the past so many years,” he said in response to assertions made by some politicians of NC and PDP that if Article 35A if removed, “the terms of accession (of J&K to India) will be lost too.”
“If the pro-India parties are saying such things then they will have to agree that J&K is under military occupation,” he said.