Ahead of Article 35 A hearing in Supreme Court, Jammu and Kashmir Governor has said that there has been no change in the stance on the matter and that only an elected government can take a call.
Article 35A Supreme Court hearing: The Supreme Court is likely to hear petitions challenging the validity of Article 35-A in Jammu and Kashmir this week. Ahead of the crucial hearing, authorities in the state have made heavy deployment of security forces to check the law and order situation. Also, security forces have been asked to remain on alert in view of the bandh call given by separatists in the Valley.
According to reports, the Jammu and Kashmir Police officials and paramilitary forces have been deployed in large numbers at vulnerable places in Kashmir to prevent any breakdown of law and order. Also restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC have been imposed in the Valley including in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has sought adjournment of hearing on Article 35 A in the Supreme Court.
“Our stand is clear. We have requested Supreme Court to defer hearing in the case,” Rohit Kansal, newly appointed spokesperson of the state government, said.
Kansal also appealed people not to pay heed to rumours about the movement of additional security forces in the state. The state government official said that additional troops have been deployed in the view of general elections.
“In the past few days several rumours have been circulated and panic messages disseminated. Most of these have been based on unsubstantiated or exaggerated pieces of information,” he said.
Kansal said that there has been no change in stand of the Governor’s administration on Article 35A, adding that only an elected government can take a stand on the issue before the Supreme Court.
The state administration’s clarification comes in the backdrop of rumours that government may bring an ordinance to repeal the Article which promises special rights and privileges to the residents of the border state.
The Raj Bhawan also issued a statement to quell panic and protests. Governor Satya Pal Malik said that additional security forces should be seen only in the context of coming elections.
“Death threats were given by terrorist organisations to anyone planning to contest the election… Candidates were asked to go with their coffins to file nominations… Voters were also threatened with severe consequences,” the Raj Bhawan said in a statement.
The statement was issued after a meeting of the State Administrative Council. The meeting was presided over by Governor Satya Pal Malik where he was informed about additional troops were needed as general elections were imminent.
The Raj Bhawan statement also cited the recent urban local body and panchayat elections in the state held under the watch of over 400 additional companies of paramilitary forces.
Earlier on February 11, the state government’s counsel had sought the Supreme Court’s permission to circulate a letter among parties seeking deferment of the hearing.
Last Friday, the Centre ordered urgent deployment of over 100 companies of paramilitary forces in Kashmir on urgent basis.
“We have to urgently deploy CAPFs in Jammu & Kashmir. It is requested to provide 100 convoys of CAPFs (CRPF – 45, BSF-35, SSB-10 & ITBP 10) to Government of J&K with immediate effect and till further orders,” reads an MHA letter dated February 22 to the state administration.