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Mood in J&K against repealing Article 35A: Study group

NEW DELHI: The Concerned Citizens Group (CCG), a Delhi-based Civil Society group that counts BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha among its members, has warned of a “general belief” among Kashmiris that scrapping of Article 35A by the courts would spur widespread trouble in the state and even threaten the PDP-BJP coalition.

CCG, which deputed members Yashwant Sinha, Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Kapil Kak, Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation executive director Sushobha Barve and mediaperson Bharat Bhushan for its third visit to the state from August 17-19 to hear the Kashmiri people, reported all-round opposition to any move to revoke Article 35A. “People believe that revoking Article 35A can potentially lead to a demographic change in the state as outsiders are facilitated to buy land and property in the state”.

Stating that there was simmering anger among Kashmiris who saw the Centre as a “passive collaborator” in the petitions filed before the Supreme Court challenging Article 35A, the CCG report claimed they believed that the Centre, instead of keeping quiet, could have told the apex court that Article 35A review was a political issue that needed to be discussed in Parliament. As regards its impact on the fundamental rights of J&K women marrying ‘outsiders,’ the Centre could have argued that the issue be referred to a 9-member Constitutional Bench.

The CCG — which prepared its report based on interaction with representatives of political parties, office-bearers of J&K Bar Association, and civil society leaders in Srinagar, Anantnag, Shopian and Pulwama and college students and civil society members in Kupwara — also warned that while the high number of terrorist killed in the state over past few months was a strong signal that there would be no soft-pedalling on terrorists, it would push up local recruitment as well as attacks on the security forces.

Recalling Prime Minister’s Independence-Day statement that the Kashmir problem would be solved by embracing its people and not by bullets, the CCG quoted the Kashmiri people as saying that while the sentiments expressed by Modi were welcome, they needed to be operationalised. “They (Kashmiris) believe that like former PM A B Vajpayee, PM Narendra Modi could also change the atmosphere in J&K and make the people in the state secure. However, they also pointed out that this could not be done by putting a brake on the state’s economy, unnecessary harrassment of civilians and killing of youngsters”.

The reference was to the economic downturn being faced by the Valley due to plummeting tourism, NIA raids on separatists leaders and security forces setting themselves “target” of killing all active militants by the year-end.

Source : timesofindia



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