Three separatist leaders on Sunday urged the people of Kashmir to launch a “mass agitation” if the Supreme Court delivered a verdict in favour of pleas seeking the repeal of Article 35A and said any effort to “tinker with” a state subject law will create “a Palestine-like situation”. In a joint statement in Srinagar, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik urged the people to “launch a mass agitation if the Supreme Court delivered a verdict against the interests and aspirations of the people of the state”.
The matter is expected to come before the Supreme Court shortly. The Article relates to special rights and privileges of the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Article 35A, added to the Indian Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954, also empowers the state’s legislature to frame laws without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other states or any other right under the Constitution.
“Any move to tinker with a state subject law will create a Palestine-like situation,” the leaders said. They asked the people to prepare for protests against any change in the law that bars people from outside Jammu and Kashmir from acquiring immoveable property in the state. “A conspiracy has been hatched to change the demography of the Muslim-majority state,” they claimed and urged scholars and writers to make people aware of the consequences if the state subject law was repealed.
People from all corners of state will “come on the roads and resist” any attempt made to modify Article 35A, they said. “We are watching the developments and soon a line of action and programme will be announced,” they said. They alleged the BJP government was working to sabotage the referendum process in the state and described the PDP, its ruling partner in the state, as “an ally of the RSS”.