Srinagar, July 28 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, speakers at a seminar in Srinagar discussed ways and means for protecting Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution that protects the rights of the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

The seminar was organised by Kashmir Center for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) and other civil society groups at a local hotel in Srinagar. Prominent political experts and politicians discussed ways and means to protect on political and legal fronts of the Article 35-A of the Constitution. The participants also held a sit-in to register their protest against the attempts by the extremist Hindu organizations to get the Article repealed. The Indian Supreme Court is hearing on August 6, 2018, a petition seeking abrogation of Article 35-A.

Noted academician and KCSDS Chairperson, Prof Hameeda Nayeem, in her address said that the Kashmiri people would foil all attempts to annul Article 35-A. “We will face bullets but will not allow them to abrogate it (Article 35-A),” she added. Former vice-chancellor of Islamic University of Science and Technology, Prof Siddiq Wahid, said Article 35A is the issue of existence for the people of Kashmir. Civil society member, Shakeel Qalandar, said that there had to be a unanimous stance among the political parties over the issue and they should do whatever is possible to protect Article 35-A.

Senior Congress leader, Prof Saifuddin Soz, said that there was a need to sensitise the people of India about dangers of annulling Article 35-A. “Why we should not meet PM, Home Minister and different shades of political opinion in New Delhi to make them understand that there will be revolt in Jammu and Kashmir if Article 35-A is annulled?,” he said.

Senior PDP leader, Nizamuddin Butt, called for countering the narrative being crafted at the high level against Article 35-A. “The narrative at high level is dangerous. We have to face this narrative and generate public opinion in our favour,” he said. The leader of Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) Muhammad Yosouf Tarigami, lashed out at the Indian government for not defending the constitutional provision. He said that the Indian government’s silence over Article 35-A had created apprehensions among the people of occupied Kashmir.

The Chairman of Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN), Ghulam Hassan Mir, called for unified efforts to defend the Article 35-A. Awami National Conference leader, Muzaffar Shah, said that there was a continuous onslaught on Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. “We have to foil the nefarious designs of the elements who are hell-bent upon destroying J&K’s special position,” he added.

Prominent among those attended the seminar included Engineer Abdur Rasheed, G R Sufi, Muhammad Shafi Pandit, Jehangir Iqbal Ganai, Prof Gul Wani, Prof Noor Baba, Gowhar Gilani and Dr Mubeen Shah.

Meanwhile, Governor of occupied Kashmir, N N Vohra, according to media reports, sensing a growing unease in the territory about dangers of annulment of Article 35-A, has requested India to have the hearing of the case deferred until an elected government is in place in Kashmir.


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