Regional parties for consensus against any revocation, while BJP decries ‘deliberate fear psychosis’
The Kashmir and Chenab Valleys on Saturday observed a shutdown over the issue of Article 35A. Meanwhile, regional parties, including the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), pushed for a consensus against any revocation, while the BJP decried “deliberate fear psychosis”.
Authorities set up barricades in parts of Srinagar to keep protesters at bay in the wake of the separatists’ call for a shutdown. However, traders associated with the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) held a demonstration at Lal Chowk.
The shutdown affected normal life as schools, offices and petrol pumps remained closed. There was thin traffic on the roads. Train services were also suspended.
In Jammu region’s Chenab Valley, the bandh call was issued by Anjuman Islamia Bhadarwah, Markazi Seerat Committee Doda, Anjuman Islamia Gandoh, Masjid Committee Thathri and Majlis-e-Shoura Kishtwar against the “dilution of J&K’s special status”.
Kashmir is witnessing a political storm following the Attorney-General’s suggestion to the Supreme Court in July “to have a larger debate on Article 35A” while it is being challenged by an NGO. The Article defines exclusive rights of locals in J&K over jobs, immovable property and scholarships.
After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, CM Mehbooba Mufti also met the BJP’s national general secretary Ram Madhav as “part of consensus building against any erosion of special status”, as per the agenda of the alliance. However, National Conference (NC) leader Ali Muhammad Sagar alleged that “Ms. Mufti’s wishy-washy claim of getting an alleged assurance from the PM stood exposed as senior BJP leaders talk of no change in total and complete opposition to Article 35A and Article 370”. The NC’s provincial president claimed that “Jammu Dogras would be the main sufferers if Article 35A is scrapped”.
“Jammu people should be given a chance to hold a referendum on whether Article 35A should stay or go,” said Mr. Rana, while describing Pakistan statement over the issue “a ploy.”
However, BJP state spokesperson Anil Gupta accused the NC of “creating a fear psychosis.”
“NC’s statement clearly indicates the mindset of his party that has always advocated politics of exclusion,” said Mr. Gupta.