NATIONAL

Valley in lockdown over Article 35A

Statewide protest:Activists of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference taking out a protest rally in Jammu on Monday.PTI

Statewide protest:Activists of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference taking out a protest rally in Jammu on Monday.PTI  

Regional parties ask Centre to safeguard special status, say adjourned hearing will exacerbate tensions

Life was affected in the Kashmir Valley for the second day on Monday following the shut down called by separatists over the challenge to Article 35(A) in the Supreme Court. Offices, educational institutions and business centres remained closed.

The police foiled a protest march of the Kashmir Economic Alliance, a traders’ body, from Lal Chowk to the United Nations office here. Later in the day, the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing to August 26.

. The major regional parties have urged the Centre to safeguard the special status of Jammu & Kashmir.

PDP stance

“The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India and it has conferred special status to J&K. Any attempt to fiddle with it will amount to violating its basic structure. Now it is for the nation to respect that decision in its entirety. Instead of attempting to dilute J&K’s special status, they should embrace it and treat Kashmiris with dignity,” said Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

“Deferment of hearing on the Article is not a solution, though it has brought an interim relief to the people. But with uncertainty looming over its status, it has unleashed a wave of anxiety and panic amongst the people of J&K.”

National Conference (NC) spokesman Junaid Azim Mattu said the adjournment did not remove the sense of anxiety and apprehensions. “In the absence of the Central government defending the Article through a counter-affidavit, the challenge to the State’s special status remains,” he said.

The separatist Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, organised a two-day shutdown.

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah took potshots at separatists. “Protecting Article35A is a tacit acceptance that J&K’s future lies within the Constitution of India otherwise how would it matter if it were struck down or diluted,” he tweeted.

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