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Art 35-A Hearing Adjourned To January 2019

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NEW DELHI:-The Supreme Court on Friday deferred to the second week of January 2019 the hearing of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A, which gives special rights to residents of Jammu and Kashmir and bars non-natives from buying property in the state.

The Supreme Court had initially deferred hearing of the petitions during a sitting earlier this month. The Central and state governments had sought postponement of the Article 35A hearing on the grounds that panchayat elections were to be held in the state in eight phases from September to October.

In the meantime, life in Kashmir has been disrupted as a two-day shutdown called by separatist groups to support retention of Article 35A continued on Friday.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a conglomerate of separatist groups headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik, called for a complete shutdown on Friday to highlight support for Article 35A.

On August 30, shops, business establishments, educational institutions and offices remained closed, while on August 31, the shutdown was to extend to public transport and educational institutions. The shutdown extends to nearly all areas in Kashmir from Poonch in the Chenab Valley to parts of Kargil district in Ladakh.

Kashmir has been seeing protests across the region in support of Article 35A, including protests by the PDP and National Conference. Police had imposed restrictions in certain sensitive areas of Srinagar, fearing protests.

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