The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik urged people to be ready for a mass agitation in case of tampering of state subject laws. On Sunday, the JRL had called for protest and strike on August 5 and August 6 against what they termed as the legal assault on J&K’s autonomy. The announcement came after a meeting by Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik at Geelani’s Hyderpora residence. Mirwaiz and Malik were allowed to meet Geelani to discuss their strategy on the “possible moves to tinker with the article 35A.”
The break-up of PDP-BJP government has brought the focus back on the legal battle for the protection of Article 35-A. Article 35-A empowers J&K legislature to define permanent residents and allows them the exclusive right to buy land in the state. Earlier, in 2014, a petition challenging the Article was filed by the Delhi-based NGO ‘We the Citizens’. Later, three more petitions challenging the Article were admitted in the court but these were clubbed with the main one.
In a joint statement , the JRL in response to the petition, said that it was “one more serious assault launched against the people of Kashmir by the powers in New Delhi, by challenging article 35A in Supreme Court.” “The agenda of the BJP/RSS is to change the demography of J&K and insidiously destroy its disputed. The challenge to Article 35A in the Supreme Court is a part of that plan. Any and every attempt made at changing the demographic character of the state will be stoutly resisted. They can kill us or detain us, but we won’t succumb to pressure tactics,” the leadership said. “We are even ready to sacrifice our lives and face detentions to safeguard people’s interests and the disputed nature of the state,” they added.
The JRL said that in this connection, they have been in touch with all segments of society including the legal fraternity, traders, civil society members, academia and others and there is complete agreement among all with regard to resisting and fighting this serious assault together. “On August 5 and August 6, a protest strike will be observed throughout the state and people will register their total disapproval and resistance to this politically motivated move,” the leadership said. They also warned the Government of India that “a mass agitation of hitting and occupying the streets will be launched if any one tampered with 35A.