India

Deserted roads, shops closed: Kashmir shuts down ahead of ahead of SC hearing on Article 35A

Intelligence agencies have warned that there could be a "revolt" in the police ranks and massive unrest in Jammu and Kashmir if the Supreme Court passes an "adverse" order on Article 35A of the Constitution.

New Delhi: In protest against the hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday regarding a batch of petitions challenging the validity Article 35 A of the Constitution that guarantees special privileges to the state, Kashmir shut down completely.

With public transport off the roads and heavy deployment of security forces, Srinagar woke up to deserted streets and closed shops.

Many residents said that the shutdown was unprecedented citing the example of auto-rickshaws which are off the roads which has happened on rare occasions in the past 30 years of unrest. Even the Dal Lake’s iconic Shikaras (leisure boats) lay moored in the jetties, according to a report in the Hindustan Times.

The fear that the state’s special status will be revoked through a legal route is palpable.

Intelligence agencies have warned that there could be a “revolt” in the police ranks and massive unrest in Jammu and Kashmir if the Supreme Court passes an “adverse” order on Article 35A of the Constitution on Monday, sources told NDTV.

The top court will hear a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the presidential order of 1954, which defines “permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir”, and bars non-locals from buying and owning land in the state.

The Jammu and Kashmir police are on the forefront in the fight against terrorists, pro-separatists protests and stone-throwing in the valley. More than 1,600 police personnel have been killed fighting terrorists since 1990. But on the issue, top officers are worried about the fallout in case the Supreme Court decides to strike down Article 35A.

A non-government organisation or NGO, backed by right wing groups, has challenged Article 35A, on grounds that it violates fundamental rights of citizens of India including the right to own property and the right to reside and settle in any part of the country.

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