Baramulla Cricket Forum (BCF) members and cricketers on Sunday held a peaceful protest rally against the attempts being made to abrogate Article 35-A of the Constitution which grants special status o the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
The protest march started from Baramulla Chowk and the protesters marched towards various playgrounds of the town viz. Showkat Ali Stadium, Azad Gunj Ground, Sheikh-ul-Alam Stadium, and Jhelum Stadium to register their protest.
The protesting members and cricketers were carrying banners and placards reading “We protest removal of Article 35-A, Save Jammu and Kashmir” etc and vowed to keep fighting to safeguard and uphold the special status of J&K.
General Secretary of Baramulla Cricket Forum (BCF), Irfan Ahmad Rather told Rising Kashmir that the protest was against the “attempts to dilute special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We will protest intensely even if a minor change is brought into Article 35-A and we will fight if the article was “tinkered” by the Supreme Court," he said, adding the protest was organized and arranged by BCF along with its associated cricket forums in the district in which almost 1500 cricketers and members are registered with it who also staged protest demonstrations in their adjacent grounds.
He further said the revocation of the special status given to J&K won’t be acceptable and urged Supreme Court for dismissal of petition.
“We can go to any extent to safeguard Article 35-A and our message to the youth is to unite in order to defend it collectively,” he adds.
Joint Secretary BCF, Zubair Ahmad said that the abrogation or repealing of Article 35-A won’t be tolerated.
“This is our moral responsibility and our duty to safeguard and protect the special status of J&K and through this protest we want to disseminate a message that cricketers are not behind but will fight against the moves for tampering of Article 35-A along with other quarters,” he said.
Adding, “The protest was meant to send a message to the Supreme Court against the annulations in Article 35-A as it would have serious ramifications.”
The protestors later joined the protest rally of Traders Federation Baramulla besides pasted posters on vehicles.
The protesters said that Article 35-A is the identity of the residents of J&K and the situation will take an ugly turn in Kashmir if it is touched.
They said people of Kashmir especially youth will hit streets in case the Supreme Court decision goes in favour of repealing of Article-35 A.
“We will not tolerate any attack on our Constitution which is life and pride and we will keep fighting to protect and uphold the dignity of the people for it,” they add.
Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of J&K and debars non-residents from buying land or property, getting government jobs, or voting in the state assembly elections besides denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state.
The constitutional validity of the Article-35-A has been challenged in the Supreme Court through public interest litigation seeking abrogation of Article 35-A. The hearing on the petition is scheduled on Monday, August 6 in the Apex Court.
Meanwhile, complete shutdown was observed across Jammu and Kashmir against the attempts to dilute state subject law.