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A rumour was circulated on social media that the Supreme court of India will deliver its verdict on Article 35A on Monday. As soon as the news spread, clashes and protests were witnessed across Kashmir valley. Scores of civilians were injured, mostly in south Kashmir, when government forces started to take action after protests began to dangerously escalate.

The chaos and confusion began in the morning when the national media reported that the Supreme Court was going to hear a fresh petition on Article 35A today. The people of Valley were angry and gossips were made that the Indian government is secretly scrapping the Article 35 A.

As the news began making rounds on social networking sites, people in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, and Kulgam began to protest and to enforce a shutdown. Srinagar joined in, as did some parts of north Kashmir. Shopkeepers dropped their shutters as groups of agitated protestors moved around city streets calling for a shutdown. Long queues began to form at petrol and diesel stations in anticipation of an imminent and prolonged shutdown.

All shops, offices and commercial establishments in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas closed soon after the rumours spread. Some private schools and government colleges shut their operations, too.

Minor clashes between locals and government forces took place at Soura and Amira Kadal areas of Srinagar. Twenty-two civilians, mostly college students, were injured by pellets during clashes in Shopian.

Early in the morning, students of Government Degree College (GDC) Shopian hit the streets and held protests against the fresh petition moved by a BJP spokesperson seeking abrogation of Article 35 A. The protesting students clashed with government forces deployed around Jamia Masjid Shopian in which 22 people received pellet injuries. Six among them were referred to SMHS Srinagar for advanced treatment.

Violent protests broke out in many areas of Anantnag district. Groups of youths hit the streets at Lal Chowk and held demonstrations. The protesters, witnesses said, clashed with government forces by hurling rocks at them.

Students of Government Degree College Kulgam, Anantnag, Bijbehara, Pulwama, Shopian Ganderbal, Bandipora, Sopore and Government Higher Secondary School Ganderbal took out a protest rally. The students raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

The National Conference (NC) also organised a protest march of its workers against the fresh petition challenging Article 35A. Meanwhile, Senior Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq appealed people not to pay heed to rumours.

The Article 35A is the provision in Indian constitution that grants exclusive state subject (full citizenship) rights and other privileges to permanent residents of the state. This provision was added to the constitution through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, issued by the country’s first president, Rajendra Prasad, on May 14, 1954.

The Supreme Court of India adjourns the hearing that was first scheduled on 6th August to 27th August. however, before two days of the hearing, the Supreme Court marked the 31st August as the hearing date on Article 35 A. Earlier, Joint resistance leadership (JRL) has given the shutdown call on 30 and 31 August.

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