Separatists call two-day shutdown, warn of agitation against any fiddling of Article 35-A

As the Supreme Court is set to hear petitions challenging validity of Article 35A of the Constitution, separatists and mainstream leaders alike have warned against any change in the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik on Sunday deliberated on the possible outcome of the court hearing and called for a strike on August 5 and 6.

Similarly, National Conference president and three-time CM Farooq Abdullah asserted none would be allowed to fiddle with "our political status and honour".

Article 35-A confers special rights and privileges on permanent residents of J&K and debars non-residents from buying land or property, getting a government job, voting in the Assembly elections and availing state-sponsored scholarship.

"We are wary of serious assault launched against the people of Kashmir by the powers in New Delhi by challenging Article 35A in Indian Supreme Court. The attempt to change the demography of J&K and insidiously destroy its disputed nature has always been on agenda of BJP/RSS. Once hereditary state subject laws are done away with, it will pave way for settling outsiders in J&K. And as part of the BJP/RSS plan, Kashmiris will become a minority in their own land and like Palestinians, Kashmiris too will be pushed to the margins of their land and rendered homeless," Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik said in a joint statement.

They warned the Centre that every attempt made at changing demographic nature of the state would be resisted. "They can kill us or detain us but we won't succumb to pressure tactics. We are ready to sacrifice our lives and face detention to safeguard peoples' interests and disputed nature of the state."

The separatists called for complete shutdown in Kashmir on August 5 and 6 to protest against any tinkering with Article 35A.

Omar also took the same line regarding special rights and privileges of Kashmiris. "We will fight against all ploys to assault Article 35A and won't allow powers to fiddle with our political status and honour," he told party workers.

Other Kashmir-based outfits and parties including Peoples Democratic Party, Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society Coordination Committee, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) have also warned against abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A.

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