Jammu, August 20 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Gujjar and Bakerwal communities have warned of strong protests if attempts were made to scrap Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution which grants special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Shamsher Hakla Poonchi, who leads the communities, in a statement in Srinagar said the Article 35-A is in the interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and vested interests are hatching a conspiracy to deprive the people of the special provision.

“The strong Gujjar and Bakerwal population, living in all the districts except Leh and Kargil in Ladakh region, are in favour of Article 35-A,” Shamsher Hakla Poonchi said.

Article 35-A accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the territory. It is currently facing a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.

“If Article 35-A is removed, Gujjars-Bakerwals will strongly protest against it,” the Gujjar leader said.

The Indian Supreme Court had on August 6 adjourned hearing on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35-A, saying its three-judge bench has been hearing the case and will consider whether it has to be referred to a larger bench. The apex court has listed the matter for hearing in the week commencing August 27.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Ittehadul Muslimeen Chairman, Masroor Abbas Ansari in a statement said that the people of Kashmir would not accept abrogation of Article 35-A.


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