JEHANGIR ALI | 27 AUGUST, 2018
Rumours On Article 35-A Spark Protests in Kashmir
Mirwaiz tweets clarification
SRINAGAR: Protests broke out in parts of Kashmir today after false rumours of the Supreme Court's hearing the petitions challenging Article 35-A gained currency on social media. The case has not been listed in the court registry so far.
Protests were reported from parts of south Kashmir’s Anantnag, Shopian as well as the capital Srinagar where a spontaneous shutdown was observed in the city centre Lal Chowk following the rumours. Student protests were also reported from parts of south Kashmir.
The apex court today adjourned the hearing into a fresh petition challenging Article 35-A of the Constitution which created a furore across the Valley. The petition was filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader and lawyer Ashwani Upadhyay, who has sought scrapping of the article, which bars outsiders from buying immovable property in the state.
A clutch of similar petitions challenging the legislation are likely to come up for hearing on August 31. “It was a fresh petition which had come up for hearing for admission. The court has now adjourned the case,” a senior officer in the Jammu and Kashmir government’s law department said.
He said the court would likely club the new petition with other similar petitions that will come up for hearing in a few days. However, fuelled by misinformation and the political sensibilities involved in the case, rumours that the August 31 hearing had been preponed, sparked anguish and concern across Kashmir, prompting moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to issue a clarification on Twitter.
“Confusion is being created among people about the hearing of case pertaining to Article 35A in the Indian Supreme Court for today. In this regard, what has been reported in media, is that a fresh case has been filed challenging Article 35A in SC. This has nothing to do with (other cases),” Mirwaiz said on Twitter.
However, protests broke out in Shopian district where agitated students, shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, clashed with government forces deployed in the area. A doctor at the Shopian district hospital said at least 22 persons, many of them students, had been brought to the hospital.
“Of these, six persons with pellet injuries were referred to Srinagar. Three of them had pellet injuries in their eyes while the rest had body injuries,” the doctor said, requesting anonymity.
The J&K police appealed to people not to pay heed to rumours on social media. “This confusion has been created due to false rumours. The case is listed as S.No. 10 before the Chief Justice which may be listed for August 31, although the exact date will be made public on Tuesday. Thus we appeal to people not to fall for such rumours,” a senior police officer said.
Separatists have called for a shutdown across Jammu and Kashmir on August 30 and 31 to protest the petitions challenging the Article, which has brought together the mainstream and separatists on a common platform.