August 2018 News

Kashmir Tension Eases After Art 35A Hearing Adjourned

7 August 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Azhar Qadri

Srinagar: After two days of shutdown in defence of Article 35A, normal life resumed in the Kashmir valley on Tuesday as the hearing of a petition seeking its abrogation in Supreme Court was on Monday adjourned by three weeks. The adjournment of the hearing of the petition, which sought the abrogation of Article 35A, to August 27 has eased the tension which was brewing in the Kashmir valley and the other parts of the state. The public transport services, offices, markets, schools and colleges opened after remaining closed during the two-day shutdown, which was also witnessed at the region's tourist resorts. Three key separatist leaders, operating under the banner of 'joint resistance leadership', said they would deliberate upon the situation and continue 'to devise and follow a collective strategy'. Article 35A grants special privileges and rights to the permanent residents of J&K and debars non-residents from buying land or property, getting government jobs or voting in the Assembly elections in the state. The possibility of the repeal or tinkering with Article 35-A evoked strong resentment in the volatile region and united political parties with most of them threatening to launch an agitation. The calls for protests were also made by mainstream political parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party and the National Conference. The proactive role of the separatist leaders in calling for protests and shutdown in defence of Article 35A had made former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to conclude that it indicated a 'tacit acceptance that J&K's future lies within the Constitution of India'. The Democratic Freedom Party, a separatist group headed by Shabir Shah, reacted sharply to Omar on Tuesday, saying that the protests were meant to safeguard 'the disputed nature and the identity of the people of the state'.