‘Civil society groups should initiate a discussion consensus on strategy to thwart attack on state sovereignty’
Srinagar: The Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) in Jammu &Kashmir comprising over a dozen intellectuals including retired academicians, bureaucrats and jurists in an open letter called upon Governor N N Vohra to ask the Advocate General and others representing the State before the Jammu & Kashmir High Court to get case against the Article 35 A deferred till the democratically elected government is put in place.
The GCC also appealed all civil society groups of the state to initiate a wider discussion so that a consensus is evolved regarding the strategy to be followed to blunt the attack on the sovereignty enjoyed by the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Article 35 A is in the nature of a protective cover insulating the sovereignty enjoyed by the State of Jammu and Kashmir under the constitutional mechanism governing its relations with the Union of India. The legislative power of the State Legislature to define the classes of persons who are, or shall be permanent residents of the State or conferring on such permanent residents any special rights and privileges or imposing upon other persons any restrictions as regards employment under the Act, acquisition of immovable property in the State, settlement in the State or right to different forms of aid undoubtedly are attributes of State sovereignty and a Constitutional provision safeguarding it is of vital interest to people across the State,” the letter said.
The letter further added, “Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) is of the firm opinion that Article 35 A is a constitutionally valid provision and its application to the State by The Constitution ( Application To Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 falls within the Presidential powers delineated in Article 370 of the Constitution of India. GCC is confident that in view of the clear constitutional position and case law on the subject, challenge to the constitutional validity of Article 35 A is destined to fail.”
The letter stressed that Jammu and Kashmir Government being an important stakeholder is to strenuously put forward its stand in support of the constitutional provision before the Honble Supreme Court.
“GCC believes that as the matter relates to the sovereignty of the State and therefore people of Jammu and Kashmir, it should be left to the elected government to articulate the State Government’s viewpoint that obviously is to reflect the public sentiment pertaining to the issue. We the members of GCC accordingly request the Governor N N Vohra to ask the Advocate General and others representing the State before the Court to get the matter deferred till the democratically elected government is in place and in a position to put forth its stand on the issue. We also appeal all civil society group to initiate a wider discussion so that a consensus is evolved regarding the strategy to be followed to blunt the attack on the Sovereignty of enjoyed by the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” the letter said.
GCC (Group of Concerned Citizens), Jammu and Kashmir, which came into being in September, 2016, at the height of killings, blindings and maiming of people in Kashmir (especially youth), is a civil society group comprised of people from a cross section of society from all the communities and all the three regions of the State, including jurists, former civil servants academicians, journalists, businessmen and social activists.
Jus (Rtd) Shabir Hasnain, Mr Mohammad Shafi Pandit, Former Chairman J&K PSC Ghulam Rasool Sufi Former Chief Information Commissioner Abdul Wahid Qureshi Former Vice Chancellor GH Kango Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Anuradha Bhasin Head of Kashmir Times Mrs Nusrat Andrabi Krishan Lal Kaul Businessman Masood Ahmad Shah Businessman Prof Nissar Ali Academician Abdul Rashid Khan, Former IGP Rafiq Masoodi, Former DDG Prasar Bharti Masood Hussain Artist Feroze Ahmad Former Census Commissioner from Ladakh Krishi Pandit, GD Bakshi, Cooperative Activist and many others.
(With inputs from KNS)