‘Only mass non-violent protests can save Kashmir’s special status’

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  • Publish Date: Aug 21 2017 9:51PM
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  • Updated Date: Aug 21 2017 9:51PM
‘Only mass non-violent protests can save Kashmir’s special status’

Kashmir is growing uneasy as attempts, driven by the Hindu extremist ecosystem of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, to weaken Article 35A gain pace. The article is practically the last vestige of Jammu and Kashmir’s “special status” within the Indian Union. If the provision is rescinded or diluted, the doors would be opened for non-permanent residents to buy property and settle in the state, thereby changing the state’s demography. 

How should Kashmiris resist such attempts? Ink put this question to a cross-section of public opinion-makers. This is what they had to say.


Parvez Imroz

Constitutional expert and human rights activist


There is only one workable response to the onslaught on Article 35A and that is mass non-violent protests. India’s Supreme Court has always held illegal presidential orders extended to the state as legal. In the 1972 Maqbool Damnoo case, for example, the court upheld the presidential order downgrading Sadr-i-Riyasat to governor. Same was the case in Sampat Prakesh case, Mubashir Naqashbandi case and Lakhwinder Kumar case. Now, in the ongoing case, it is unlikely the court will favour the people when it has already taken rightist positions – on the cow, the anthem. Once the court scraps the article, there is little that could be done. People on streets is the only response. Article 35A is a political issue, which must be solved politically and not through judiciary.





Sanjay R Hegde

Senior Advocate, Supreme Court


The presidential order that is being challenged in the court as being ‘unconstitutional’ is constitutional. Hence, the case does not hold any ground. The president has the special power to extent any law to Jammu and Kashmir without getting it through the Parliament. This much is made clear in Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The president has exercised his powers under Article 370 various times. If all those orders are not unconstitutional, then how it the one on Article 35A so? I think the J&K government is in a strong position on the case.



Engineer Rasheed

Jammu and Kashmir legislator 


Indians consider Jammu and Kashmir as their enemy and that is why they fiddle with us all the time. We can respond in many ways. One, the assembly should pass a resolution in support of Article 35A and the state government should make it a part of its response in the Supreme Court. Two, in case the state loses the case, then the Hurriyat Conference should bring in Pakistan and take the case to the International Court of Justice, where India will be tried. 




Gautam Navlakaha

Human rights activist


It is a political issue, and there is no legal solution to it. I am saying this as an Indian concerned about the plight of Jammu and Kashmir. Legally, if Article 35A is turned down, it does not only affect the permanent resident status, but also all 42 constitutional amendments that apply to the state. Moreover, it questions the very veracity and legitimacy of Article 370. The Government of India had eroded the commitments that follow from it throughout the last 70 years, by one means or the other. Now, only the permanent resident status remains of the autonomy entity. It only means that the people cannot trust the Government of India and to believe that this government or any other in past has shown any commitment to restoring the autonomy. People must bear in mind that it is their survival at stake and rather than trust and believe any commitment of the Indian government, they must continue their fight for the right to self-determination. 


Scrapping Article 35A will enable the demographic transformation of J&K, an old demand of the RSS. It is the last nail in the coffin and even after this if people believe there is any political accommodation within the Union of India, than I think they are living in a fool’s paradise. This should convince Kashmiris that their demand for the right to self-determination is not only legitimate but justified. Suppose the Supreme Court says Article 35A stands, does that mean the struggle for the self-determination is over? No, the struggle must carry on.




Ali Mohammad Sagar

Senior National Conference leader and former J&K law minister


We believe that it is a politico-legal issue. On the political front, we are mobilising people to create awareness about Article 35A. There is a section of people that believes that the scrapping of the article will yield economic benefits to the state. We are creating awareness among them, too, explaining the repercussions of such a move. At the same time, we are exploring the possibility of fighting it legally as well.




Syed Tassadque Hussain

Senior Advocate, J&K High Court


If the Supreme Court gives its judgement in favour of Jammu and Kashmir, the controversy over Article 35A may settle down for the time being but there is no guarantee that another petition won’t be filed. If the judgement goes against Jammu and Kashmir, the state can do no more than ask for review, and the result will likely be the same. The question is how can a ruling, judgement or law that is being forced upon a people against their will be rejected? A public revolt can be the apt response.





Saifuddin Soz

Congress leader and former central minister


The aim behind the petition is to change the state’s demography, which we won’t allow. This special position of the state cannot be taken away unilaterally by the Supreme Court. The ground is against the scrapping of this article – all mainstream parties as well as the Hurriyat are on the same page. The state should fight the case with full strength. I have spoken to senior lawyers of the Supreme Court who have told me that the article shall remain as it is because the case against it is not strong. It is the design of the RSS and we reject it.