Trader’s Body ready to follow Joint Resistance Leadership on Article 35A Row

Representatives of traders and businesses Monday said they will consult the Joint Resistance Leadership for a future strategy to thwart efforts for abrogation of Article 35A.
Several representatives of Kashmir-based trade bodies who hit the streets protesting the “assault” on the special constitutional provision said they were ready to adhere to any programme announced by the JRL to protect special status of the state.
A group of traders representing a faction of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) who held a press conference here said they will be “consulting the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) to chalk-out a future strategy for upping the ante against tinkering with Article 35A”.
Earlier on Monday, a protest rally of Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) faction against the proposed abrogation of the Article was foiled when it attempted to march towards the office of United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in Sonwar here as scores of traders were briefly detained.
The traders’ protests were in response to a call from representatives of 27 Kashmir-based trade organisations which jointly formed an umbrella body recently and announced a week-long protest programme until August 7. Holding placards and shouting slogans, the businessmen and traders assembled at Maulana Azad Road after staging a sit-in at LalChowk.
A leader of the Kashmir Economic Alliance, Farooq Ahmed Dar said traders will continue fighting “tooth and nail” to prevent abrogation of Article 35A. “Our amalgam has called for a protest march from LalChowk to UN Office to lodge our protest against the attempt to abrogate Article 35A and we will submit memorandum on this issue,” said Dar, co-chairman of KEA. “The wound inflicted on the state’s autonomy through extension of GST is still fresh as another new machination has been launched to question the validity of Article 35A now.”
Similar protest demonstrations were held by trade leaders at various other places in Kashmir. Members of a faction of KTMF vowed to protect “Aricle 35A with blood.” Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, vice-president of KTMF said deferment of the hearing of the case on Article 350A until August 27 “was just a delay tactic and a joke being played on people of the state”.
Bhat said traders of Kashmir valley were always ready to support the protest programme of JRL so “that a message is sent across loud and clear that we won’t allow fiddling with Article 35A.”
“It is a well thought plot to first question the validity of this Article so that it is abrogated. By making changes to the special status the government will be playing with fire as situation can flare up and we can have quite a grim scenario,” Bhat said. Traders representing Shaher-e-Khaas Traders and Manufacturers Co-ordination Committee held a sit-in protest at Alamgari Bazar to protest against ‘attack on special status of the state’. Chairman, Shahr-e-Khaas Traders and Manufacturers Co-ordination Committee, Nazir Ahmad Shah said it is the duty of every Kashmiri to safeguard Article 35-A.

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