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Why is New Delhi Keen to Amend Article 35-A Drafted By Pro-India Kashmir Pandits?

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Politicians and separatists are playing with the Jammu and Kashmir’s Article 35-A according to their convenience according to Advocate Qadri. He said that with the impending Lok Sabha elections, some right-wing forces in India have been trying to abuse the Article 35-A.

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“So, it is a political move and they have made the Kashmiri people feel insecure by taking Article 35-A to the Supreme Court. This is the only worry with the people of J&K. They think whatever move the Government of India wants to do, it’s only through the judiciary.”

Qadri added that if tomorrow the judiciary comes to a conclusion and passes an order against the Article 35-A, there is no forum to challenge it. “Consequently, there will be a change in the demography. And that is why the people of J&K are insecure.”

The outspoken advocate also said the Article cannot be amended. “There is actually a full code given in Article 35-A itself. It says that if it has to be amended or modified or removed, it has to be done by a ‘Constituent Assembly’. Then you will have to restore the constituent assembly. It is very much impossible this time as the constituent assembly has been dissolved. It isn’t possible this time to amend it.”

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Moreover, Qadri pointed out that there is ‘no procedure given in the Indian Constitution or the J&K Constitution to amend Article 35-A. He said it doesn’t have any link with the constitution.

“It is actually an Article that was drafted with a perspective. The perspective was notification, issued by the Maharaja in 1930s when the Kashmiri Pandits and learned Kashmiris had agitated that only Kashmir’s aboriginals should be given the right to purchase the land, and only Kashmiris who are natives should be given an opportunity for higher studies and employment.”

And it finally came into being in 1954 when the Government of India and the Maharaja came to an agreement and it was eventually passed by the President of India.

Meanwhile, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising of the Hurriyat factions and JKLF are leading Kashmir for a complete two-day strike as the Supreme Court is to hear pleas against Article 35-A and Article 370. In a joint statement, the JRL said: “the people of J&K will forcefully resist every challenge by New Delhi to change the demography of the State by rolling back hereditary state subject laws.” It also stated that the ambiguity over the dates of hearing by the Supreme Court is worrisome and indicates ‘mischief’.

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