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Gujjar leader warns of strong protests if Article 35-A scrapped

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Jammu, Aug 19: A leader of Gujjar and Bakerwal communities in Jammu and Kashmir today warned of strong protests if attempts were made to scrap Article 35-A of the Constitution which grants special status to permanent residents of the state.

Shamsher Hakla Poonchi said the Article is in the interest of the people of the state and vested interests are hatching a conspiracy to deprive the people of the special constitutional provision.

“The strong Gujjar and Bakerwal population, living in all the districts except Leh and Kargil in Ladakh region, are in favour of Article 35-A,” Poonchi said in a statement here.

Article 35-A is currently facing a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.

It empowers the State Legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on the grounds of violation of the Right to Equality of people from other states or any other right under the Constitution.

“If Article 35-A is removed, Gujjars-Bakerwals will strongly protest against it,” the Gujjar leader said.

The Supreme Court had on August 06 adjourned hearing on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35-A, saying its three-judge bench has been hearing the case and will consider whether it has to be referred to a larger bench.

The apex court has listed the matter for hearing in the week commencing August 27.

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