As the petition against the Article 35A is coming up in Supreme Court this week; the separatists have called for a complete two day shutdown across the state on February 13 and 14.
The counsel for the state government has sought adjournment saying the “sensitive” matter should be heard when an “elected government is in place”.
The joint separatist leadership, comprising of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Fraooq and Yasin Malik, has called for a shutdown on Wednesday and Thursday.
“People of Jammu and Kashmir will forcefully resist every challenge by New Delhi to change the demography of the State by rolling back hereditary state subject laws of 1927, being contested in the Supreme Court of India through their agents,” the joint separatist leadership said. “The late announcement and ambiguity over the dates of hearing of 35A and 370 by Supreme Court on 13 or 14 of February is worrisome, and indicates of mischief”.
Calling it an “extremely critical issue of the very existence” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the separatist leadership has warmed of mass agitation across the state if the special position of the state is tinkered with.
The petition challenging Article 35A is listed in the Supreme Court between February 12 and 14. The state counsel Shoeb Alam has sought the adjournment of the case.
“On the day of listing, the undersigned shall be requesting for an adjournment in the matter since presently there is no elected government in the State of J&K and the State is under President’s rule,” Alam has written to the Registrar General of the apex court. “The present matter involves a sensitive issue regarding a challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution of India… It will therefore be requested that the matter may kindly be head when an elected government is in place”.
The Article 35A empowers the J&K Constitution to define “permanent residents” of the state, and was added through “Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954”, issued by the President under Article 370. It replicates a state subject law promulgated by Dogra king Maharaja Hari Singh in 1927, following a strong campaign by Kashmiri Pandits who were opposed to the hiring of civil servants from Punjab. The constitutional provision has been challenged in the Supreme Court by the RSS linked groups.