The National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday held separate rallies in Jammu and Kashmir protesting against the petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A of the Constitution, which grants special rights and privileges to permanent residents of the state, PTI reported.
The matter is listed for hearing on Monday before Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.
National Conference legislator Khanyar Mohammad Sagar led party workers from Srinagar’s Nawai-e-Subah to Sher-e-Kashmir park. Though they tried to march to the city centre, they had to return because of increased police presence.
The Peoples Democratic Party also took out a rally from the Sher-e-Kashmir park, led by the party’s General Secretary Nizamuddin Bhat and MLA Khursheed Alam. They were also stopped before they could reach the Lal Chowk, reports said.
Besides the political parties, a traders’ organisation also conducted a rally. Several protests were held across the state on Friday as well.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party said it was open for a debate on the matter. “The BJP is open to a debate with anyone or any political party on whether or not Article 35A is in the interest of the people of the state,” the state spokesperson of the party, Sunil Sethi, said. “We are extending an open invitation.”
Sethi claimed people were being misled over the matter. “The continuation of Article 35A will not have any benefit for the state. The central government has pumped crores of rupees into the state over the last 70 years but the development has not been as it should have been,” he said.
Article 35A was obstructing the state’s development, he claimed. “Investors do not come here to set up Infrastructure. The youth are not getting the jobs,” he said, adding that some politicial ledaers wanted to maintain the position for the sake of their vote banks.
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday approached the Supreme Court, urging it to adjourn the hearing citing a possible law and order situation. The National Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have moved the top court in the matter.
Article 35A was incorporated in the Constitution by a presidential order in 1954. It accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies property rights to women who marry people from outside the state. The provision also applies to their heirs.