Erosion of Article 35A going on since 1947, at it’s climax now, says coordination committee

Jammu and Kashmir has every file, including missing document.

Youth of Ladakh in defense of Article 35-A along with people of Kashmir

Srinagar: Coordination Committee from various sections of civil society namely “We the People”,  on August 21, Monday, called a press conference in defense against the ‘attempts’ at abrogation of the Article 35-A of the Indian constitution.

Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution is empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.

Advocate G.N Shaheen commenced the press conference by mentioning that the they were not representing any political party, but a defense for the special status of the state guaranteed by the presence of Article 35-A, and subsequently the Article 370.

“We are not representing any political party here, but only the collective conscience of the people of the state of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said.

FPK Photo/ Tabish Mir

Referring to the PIL filed previously by an NGO in the Supreme court of India challenging the ‘constitutional validity’ of article 35-A, Shaheed said, “Since 1947, there have been attempts at gradual erosion of the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir as promised under Article 370, and 35-A. This is just another of those attempts.”

“That erosion is at it’s climax right now,” he added.

Emphasizing the ‘importance’ of maintaining the special status, Shaheen said that, “this is a matter of life and death for us.”

Calling to all the political parties to stand together unanimously on the defense of Article 35-A, he added, “PDP, NC, Congress, AIP, CPIM should protect the article. They seek votes to protect the status of Kashmir, during elections. They should come together and do that now.”

“I call to Umar Farooq, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, Er Rasheed, Tarigami, and G A Mir to collectively call for an urgent special session of the legislative assembly and the legislative council as has been done by the National Conference,” he further added.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah on August 18 had sought a special session of the JK Legislature before August 29 to frame up an appropriate response to counter the narrative with regard to tampering or repealing of Article 35-A of the Constitution.

Mr Muzaffar Shah present at the moment, thanked the ‘RSS backed’ elements in bringing together the people from different parts of the state.

“Wali Khanna and RSS backed elements have done a great job. We should thank them for bringing together the different people and stand together against the abrogation of the Article 35-A,” he said.

“People from Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, and Baltistan should stand together and call for a referendum and I am sure we will win that unanimously,” he added, “and maybe that will pave a peaceful  way in resolving the Kashmir dispute.”

When asked what the civil society would if the Article 35-A was indeed revoked, Shaheen said, “Don’t play with it. If Article 35-A is repealed, the future of the state will be at stake.”

A journalist addressing the coordination committee asked them what the disappearance of a document apparently justifying the insertion of Article 35-A into the Indian Constitution, meant.

FPK Photo/ Tabish Mir

A 63-year-old file containing legal opinion on Article 35-A has vanished from North Block’s high-security vaults at a time the provision, which grants special rights and privileges to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Quoting its sources, The Telegraph in its report said the 1954 file contained the then attorney-general’s opinion justifying the insertion of Article 35A into the Constitution that year through a presidential order rather than a constitutional amendment.

“There is no need to worry,” said one of the members, “Jammu and Kashmir has every file, including that document. Be sure of that.”

Jagmohan Raina, while speaking to the media present, said, “People from Jammu stand with the people of Kashmir against the abrogation of Article 35-A.”

“The youth of Ladakh are in defense of Article 35-A along with the people of Kashmir,” Ismail, from Ladakh, said.

It was added to the Indian Constitution through a Presidential Order, i.e., The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 – issued by the President of India, “in exercise of the powers conferred by” clause (1) of Article 370 of the Constitution, with the concurrence of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

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