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Centre's Stand on Article 35-A Has Made Kashmiris More Alienated, Finds Team Led by Yashwant Sinha

Some people expressed fears that the batch of petitions challenging Article 35-A and the government's role in it was part of the BJP's design to bring about demographic changes in the Valley.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:September 4, 2017, 4:56 PM IST
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Centre's Stand on Article 35-A Has Made Kashmiris More Alienated, Finds Team Led by Yashwant Sinha
File photo of former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha.
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New Delhi: A team of “concerned citizens” led by former union minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has found that the sense of alienation of Kashmiris is growing due to the petitions challenging the validity of article 35-A.

The group, which calls itself the Concerned Citizens Group and is formed of 25 eminent citizens, had made its third visit to Jammu and Kashmir since October last year.

“The most disquieting conclusion of the interactions that the CCG had with Kashmiri students, civil society and political leaders this time around was that as compared to the previous visits, the sense of dismay and despondency in the people had grown,” a statement released by the group said.

Delving upon the reasons for this sense of dismay, the group said that the recent petitions in Supreme Court challenging article 35-A, which grants Kashmiris special status, and the central government's role in it has led to a lot of concern here.

“Why it was being left to the state government to defend 35-A and why it was no longer the Constitutional obligation of the union government to defend the Constitution?” Kashmiri representatives reportedly asked Sinha during his visit.

As per a statement released by CCG, some people in the valley expressed fears that this was part of the BJP's design to bring about demographic changes in the Valley.

“Article 35-A had been challenged in the Supreme Court earlier too, but unlike now, never before has the AG argued for a wider debate on the Constitutional provision," the statement quoted Kashmiris to be saying.

The CCG members who visited this time comprised Yashwant Sinha, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Kapil Kak, Sushobha Barve (Executive Director, Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation) and Bharat Bhushan (Editor, Catch News).

The group met some prominent political parties, office bearers of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, civil society representatives from Srinagar, Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama, and college students and civil society representatives in Kupwara in north Kashmir.

“People this time complained of not only of the military approach to the problem of Kashmir but also of a judicial/constitutional aggression against the people of Kashmir in attempts to undo Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution,” the group said.

Rajiv Mehrishi, who recently retired as home secretary and has been appointed the next CAG, had called the Kashmiri alienation as a “figment of media imagination.” He had also conceded that a file pertaining to article 35-A has gone missing from union home ministry's records.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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